Veterans take Main Street in annual parade

Kim Wise of Grand Junction clings to a portrait of her father, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. John Brunson, who served in Vietnam in 1967-68, while watching the Veterans Day parade Saturday afternoon on Main Street in Grand Junction. “I want to honor my dad,” Wise said.

A man dressed in vintage camouflage fatigues advances stone-faced in downtown Grand Junction.

Central High School’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps carries a giant American flag during Saturday’s parade.

Nathan Sturchio otherwise blends in.

An emergency medical technician for the Delta County Ambulance Service, Sturchio traded his U.S. Army camouflage for civilian clothes in 
December 2010 when he returned from a tour of duty in Iraq, where he was stationed at Baghdad International Airport.

He decided to stand out Saturday on Main Street in Grand Junction, marching in the annual Veterans Day parade.

“It’s a great day to be out and show how many of us are actually in these communities,” said Sturchio, a staff sergeant and now a reservist with the U.S. Army.

“We’re usually unnoticed, behind the scenes and looking like everyone else,” he said.

One weekend a month, Sturchio returns to Grand Junction for drills.

A steady stream of active, reserve or retired military veterans marched along Main, from Eight Street to Third Street, in a parade led by Bob Henderson’s Grand Valley Combined Honor Guard.

The honor guard included a flag-draped casket on a flatbed trailer hauled behind a military Jeep.

“We don’t march in parades as the honor guard without it,” Henderson, 74, explained. “It’s a visual reminder of those who have sacrificed for this country. It’s who we are.”

The Grand Valley Combined Honor Guard has attended 1,650 services since its inception in 2004, Henderson said.


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