[Editor’s Note: My sister, nephew, neice and I are now famous. We’re in print and in a video showing our support for the troops!]
Yakima Herald Republic
Terri Beernink of Tieton made a special trip to the Dollar Store Tuesday morning to buy four new American flags.
By 10:30 a.m. she was standing along Yakima Avenue with her niece, nephew and younger brother — each with a flag in hand — waiting for the Yakima Veterans Day Parade to begin.
“It’s hugely important,” the 41-year-old corrections officer said of honoring veterans. “Everything we have in this nation is because of our vets, people that sacrificed everything.”
Beernink and her brother, 28-year-old Greg Dawson, and their niece and nephew, 13-year-old Makayla Russell and 14-year-old Josh Russell, were among those watching the annual downtown parade.
Despite cool temperatures and the threat of rain, hundreds turned out to show support for local veterans and watch the marching bands, scout troops, military personnel and, of course, veterans advance down Yakima Avenue.
The roughly hour-long parade, which ran from Naches Avenue to Sixth Avenue, was organized by Yakima’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 379.
“It’s a good turn out,” said Beernink, who has friends now serving in Iraq and many relatives who are veterans.
“They’re willing to give their life for this cause, for the U.S.,” her brother said. “The least I can do is come out here and give them support.”
“They’re willing to go and fight,” said 39-year-old veteran Steve Castilleja of Harrah. He served with Marines from 1988 to 1992 and attended Tuesday’s parade with his wife Rachel, 35, and their two daughters, ages 10 and 6.
“It’s good to see people who are willing to come out and support veterans,” Castilleja said. “I guess it’s nice to see because I served. It feels good that all these people are willing to support veterans.”
Sixty-five-year-old Lewis Peck, a retired funeral director who served in the Army from 1963 to 1966, agreed: “I think it’s extremely important in America, especially in our trying times, to give veterans as much support as we can.”
Another block down the street, Dennis Healy, an 81-year-old World War II Army veteran who later became a professional baseball player, said, “It’s a great honor just to be here watching this parade.
“I can’t describe how I feel about my country. (But) it’s very important to honor veterans and honor our servicemen, our immediate service men, (who are serving) right now.”
Fifty-seven-year-old Tony Marin of Yakima isn’t a veteran. But, “I like to come out and support community events,” he said, sitting in a chair set up on the sidewalk.
“The veterans fought for our freedoms and we need to support them and their causes,” he said. “We don’t honor our veterans enough for what they do for our country. One day (a year) seems hardly enough.”