Contributed by Project Mend-A-House
November 9, 2013(MANASSAS,VA) – Project Mend-A-House (PMAH) honored our veterans by participating the largest Veterans Day parade in the Washington regional area. The tribute for 2013 was to those who served in U.S. operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. It is important for people to understand the great sacrifice that our military makes – to place their lives, family, education and careers on hold while called to serve our country. The American Legion Post 10 organizes this annual parade, which is now in its fifth year. Each year the parade has grown in participants and viewers. Spectators young and old gather to watch the parade of the antique and modern military vehicles, the local high school bands, dance troops, military personnel, pipe and drum corps, police and fire color guards. There were over 50 different units this year. This event is always free and open to the public.
Desert Shield was the U.S. build-up of forces in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia defense from August 1990 to January 1991. Operation Desert Storm immediately followed, kicking off the Persian Gulf War with a massive US lead air offensive in Kuwait against Iraqi forces. In past years, different veterans were honored. In 2009, they honored the World War II veterans, in 2010 they honored the Korean War veterans, in 2011 they honored the Vietnam veterans, in 2012 they honored the Cold War veterans.
Joseph Ortiz was named as the Grand Marshall this year. He was an E-5 enlisted US Army veteran. He served with distinction on both operations as a crew chief on a helicopter in the 4/7 Calvary. He is an active member of both the American Legion Post and the VFW. Kevin Tamai, the Project Mend a House Community Connections Coordinator stated “ We are happy to be participants in this large regional parade to honor our veterans. It is important for each one of us to thank those who serve our country and protect all of our freedoms we enjoy every day.”
Bill Tabor, a Project Mend a House volunteer and a retired US Army veteran, was honored to drive the PMAH truck in the parade. “ It was a wonderful experience for me. I enjoyed seeing all of the people along the route. It seemed that everyone was thanking us for our service to the community and all the work we do. I was honored to serve my country. Now that I am retired, I am giving back to the community and helping those in need.”
Some younger children asked about the honoring of veterans on November 11. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time. In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the day should be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory”. There were plans for parades, public meetings and a brief suspension of business activities at 11am. In 1926, the United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I and declared that the anniversary of the armistice should be commemorated with prayer and thanksgiving.
Sarah Tamai, age 6 and her mother, Jane Tamai, helped to make the banners for the Project Mend a House truck. Sarah helps to paint and design the banners for other events that Project Mend a House participates in. Mrs Tamai stated “ Sarah is very creative and enjoys helping on all of the projects”
PMAH welcomes tax-deductible donations to help this nonprofit continue to serve low-income residents in Prince William County, the City of Manassas, and Manassas Park. Donations directly benefit those whom Project Mend-A-House serves. In addition, “We are always looking for more volunteers to help us with our mission,” said Kevin Tamai, PMAH Community Connections Coordinator. To volunteer, make a donation, sponsor a project or just learn more about PMAH, visit www.pmahweb.org. You can also call the PMAH office at 703-792-7663, Monday-Friday 8-2pm.
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