PLEASANTON, Calif. –
U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers with the 191st Army Band, 63rd Regional Support Command and Phil Stage, 63rd RSC, U.S. Army Reserve ambassador and retired U.S. Army colonel, took part in the annual Veterans parade in Pleasanton, Calif., on Nov. 5, 2017.
This marks 21st year the city of Pleasanton has held a Veterans parade to honor those that have served our great nation and sacrificed so much for the for the wellbeing of others, and for those that continue to serve here and overseas in the name of freedom. Each year the Veterans parade has a theme to recognize the different fields in the military; the theme for 2017 was medics in the military.
The day started out sunny with a cool breeze and crowds of smiling people lining the streets on both sides along the route where the parade had been scheduled to pass. Children of all ages and adults alike wore hats with colors to represent the pride for their country and for those whom serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, while small and large flags alike waved in the air as the crowds waited patiently for the parade to commence.
People of all ages laughed, smiled and took pictures of the various groups participating in the parade as the parade prepared to begin. While the different groups of parade participants finalized their preparations, Soldiers of the 191st Army Band began to fall into a formation for their turn to go into their slot of the parade.
“Fall in,” said Sgt. Michael Johnson, 191st Army Band and drum major for the band. All band Soldiers fell into the formation and into their designated slots smoothly.
The precision with which the 191st Army Band Reserve Soldiers lined up and stood in formation highlighted the pride and honor that they all felt for participating in an event which celebrates and honors their brothers and sisters in arms who have fought for all that our great nation stands for and for those that continue to serve and fight for all that is righteous.
“It is our chance as a musical unit to help the community honor veterans, to allow veterans to be recognized for their service” said 1st Sgt. Keith M. Barlow, 191st Army Band, who has been with the U.S. Army Reserve for more than 19 years and continues to serve proudly.
Barlow smiles as he looks at Sgt. Paul Snyder, 191st Army Band Soldier who plays the trombone in the band and has been with the unit for more than six years.
“It is really an honor for me to be wearing this uniform, when we march down the street and people are cheering and applauding. They are not cheering and applauding us, they are applauding this uniform and what we represent,” said Snyder as he continued on “they also cheer for all the soldiers around the globe making sacrifices for this country.”
As the 191st Army Band prepared to step off onto the parade route the Soldiers stood up straight and tall and were ready for the queues that would come next from the drum major as he led them through the parade route and provided the queues of what was next to come.
The parade route was about a mile long, and throughout the route people cheered and waved small flags in the air to show their support for the more than 20 participating groups marching along the route. Some of the participants included Navy recruits, Marines, retired veterans, gold star mothers, local city organizations, students from local schools, and more.
At the end of the parade route the participants including the 191st Army Band packed up uniforms, and equipment used in the parade.
Snyder, said it the best, an event which honors Veterans is humbling. “I am humbled by it,” said Snyder while asked what it meant to him to perform in a Veterans parade.