COUNCIL BLUFFS — Children smiling. Men and women saluting. Miniature American flags waving.
The 2017 Council Bluffs Veterans Day parade rolled down Main and Pearl Streets on Saturday with marching bands, firetrucks, vintage cars, ROTC groups, Clydesdale horses and other entries. Along the route, onlookers watched and waved.
Steven Batten of Council Bluffs and Roger Hasz of Omaha were on hand to celebrate Veterans Day early. Next Saturday is the official holiday.
The friends are both Army veterans. Hasz served for 25 years, and Batten for about three, including in the Vietnam War. Hasz was deployed during Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and to Kosovo.
“I like that the local schools support it,” said Hasz. He said his wife is from Council Bluffs and the couple used to live in the city, including during two of his overseas deployments while with the Army.
“It’s very patriotic,” he said of the parade. “This is one of the better parades in the area.”
Batten said he enjoyed the parade, especially seeing local veterans organizations such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars take part.
Nate Simons of Council Bluffs attended with daughter Kaylee, 8, to watch his son Jacob, a junior in the Abraham Lincoln High School marching band.
“We wanted to come out and honor the veterans and watch Jacob play,” he said.
Asked how their candy haul was, Kaylee stuck her hands in her sweatshirt pocket and said “Full pockets.”
Dad’s were, too.
Her favorite part of the parade? “All the horses,” she said.
Simons said he was happy organizers put on the parade each year, giving people a chance to honor veterans.
Teresa Teater of Omaha said this was her first Council Bluffs Veterans Day parade, and she attended to honor her late father, Lynn Geer, who was born in Red Oak, Iowa, and served as an Army demolitions handler.
Brad Powell with the American Legion said 58 organizations and entities had entries in the parade.
“It went real well,” he said. “We’re happy with how things turned out.”
After the parade, many headed to the Legion post for lunch.