November 9, 2013

Wichita parade honors veterans; other area events planned for Veterans Day

As military planes flew overhead, Meyer Truman recalled his days in World War II.

As military planes flew overhead, Meyer Truman recalled his days in World War II.

The Newton resident came out Saturday for a Veterans Day parade in downtown Wichita. Wearing an Honor Flight T-shirt, Truman said he served in the war for 33 months.

He was 19 years and 3 days old when he joined the Army, he said. Truman, 89, said he visited Washington, D.C., on an honor flight in 2007. Honor flights allow veterans to see the war memorials in the nation’s capital. The first flight was in 2005.

“There were 103 of us on the plane,” Truman said of his flight. “We had 33 high school kids with us.”

Truman said he didn’t want to miss Saturday’s parade and wanted to pay tribute to other veterans like himself. U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, who was grand marshal, waved to spectators from a camoflauge-painted military truck. A Republican, Roberts is the most senior former Marine now serving in Congress. Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer also participated in the parade, as did Junior ROTC members from the Wichita school district.

Truman joked that he was not related to President Harry S Truman.

“Now, that isn’t Roosevelt,” Truman said when he introduced his wife, Ellenora, whose name is similar to first lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s.

The parade began at Murdock and Main and ended at Century II. It included marching bands, the Kansas Kountree Kloggers, motorcycle riders from American Legion posts and a historic flag display.

Esmerelda Sosa-Mendez brought three veterans to the parade. Sosa-Mendez and her husband, Ignacio Sosa-Mendez, help care for them in a medical foster home.

“We wanted to bring them out so they can also celebrate the day,” she said of Ollie Hodge, Donald Swanigan and Albert Willoughby.

Veterans Day is Monday, and government offices, including Wichita City Hall and the Sedgwick County Courthouse, will be closed.

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