GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– It was short and sweet but for the folks at the Memorial Day parade in Downtown Grand Rapids, they’d take any time out of their day to thanks veterans.
Ninety year-old Archie Kliewer is a World War II vet himself, but he stood up during the parade to salute everyone else.
“Seeing the parades, im grateful we can, we still have freedom,” said Kleiwer.
He sat with his wife of nearly 65 years at the corner of Fulton and Division, his thoughts were with the men and women serving our country now. But, he also paused to those he served with in the Air Corp during World War II.
“Our business was to intercept the enemy when he came in at night.” Kliewer recalled. “When we finally heard Japan wanted to surrender, I tell you, that was really something.”
Kliewer is one of just a small population of World War II veterans now. But he’s grateful people still remember his tremendous sacrifice.
“I wear this veteran cap and people stop and will shake my hand, or someone may salute me and thank me for serving in world War II.”
While today’s parade may have only lasted less than a half hour as it trailed down Division Avenue in Downtown Grand Rapids, Kliewer hopes people leave remembering one thing.
“That we can have these parades; people come and show their respect to the military whether it’s those fighting in Afghanistan or they fought in Iraq or different places, and that the people honor those that fight for, keep the freedom here.”
Veterans hope that each generation ahead of them understands what they fought for.