Durango-area residents lined Main Avenue on Monday for the Veterans Day Parade to honor the millions who have served in the United States military.
Durango Montessori School students in preschool through fifth grade were among those cheering on marching bands, service groups and military veterans.
The students waved handmade signs decorated with American flags and messages such as: “Thank you for sacrificing yourselves for us.”
Montessori School Director Maryanne Felkins said the parade fit in well with the school’s lessons about peacekeeping, which include the work of the U.S. military.
Military service members “are peacekeeping within the country, but also beyond our boundaries,” she said.
Lessons about peacekeeping translate into how students should behave in the classroom and help students “become leaders in our world,” she said.
La Plata County resident Jim Martinez rode in the parade in his 1955 Chevrolet in honor of his father and best friend, both veterans.
Martinez said the cars and all his personal possessions will be donated to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans when he dies.
“I want to give to those that fought for us and kept us free,” said Martinez, who is 71.
Martinez’s father, George Trujillo, served in World War II and his best friend, Dennis Kearl, served in the Vietnam War, Martinez said.
U.S. Army Medical Corps veteran Susan Collins said she was excited to attend her first Veterans Day Parade. Next year, she hopes to be part of the parade on a float dedicated to female veterans who served. She expects the float will be organized by the Veterans Outreach Center of La Plata County.
“Being from the Vietnam era, it feels very good to have our service acknowledged,” said Collins, who attended the parade with her service dog, Molly, an English Labrador.
Collins said it was her honor to serve in the Vietnam War.
“I felt working within the system was better than walking in parades against the system,” she said.