Hon­or­ing the sac­ri­fice

Ham­mond cel­e­brates Vet­er­ans Day Satur­day un­der cold, sunny skies with pa­rade

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Ca­role Carl­son | Post-Tri­bune

Amer­i­can flags flew and sirens blared along Hessville streets Satur­day in Ham­mond un­der cold and sunny skies as the city cel­e­brated Vet­er­ans Day with a pa­rade.

A Lima Lima two-plane flight team buzzed above the pa­rade, which ended at the Hessville Park Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial at 173rd Street and Kennedy Av­enue where a short cer­e­mony fol­lowed in a heated tent.

Out­side the tent, vis­i­tors signed a huge “thank you” ban­ner that will be sent to ac­tive troops.

Ham­mond Mayor Thomas McDer­mott Jr. said to­day’s po­lit­i­cally charged at­mos­phere makes Amer­i­cans feel like they’re in a di­vided coun­try.

“When you’re in the trenches, you’re not sur­rounded by Demo-

crats or Repub­li­cans. You’re sur­rounded by Amer­i­cans,” said McDer­mott, a six-year Navy vet­eran.

McDer­mott in­tro­duced pa­rade grand mar­shal Lake County As­ses­sor Jerome Prince, of Gary, a Marine vet­eran. Prince said the day marked the 243rd birth­day of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“This is prob­a­bly the great­est honor that any­one can pay a per­son, to come into a city and rep­re­sent all the vet­er­ans,” Prince said. “Our mil­i­tary re­mains strong to­day and every day, they con­tinue to make the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice.

“Some­times, they don’t make it home and noth­ing can be done to ac­knowl­edge the hole that’s left.”

Prince said Satur­day’s pa­rade rep­re­sented a com­mit­ment and tribute to lost troops who served from the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War to Afghanistan.

“We honor and sup­port you,” he said.

Af­ter the cer­e­mony, both McDer­mott and Prince, who are Democrats, crit­i­cized Pres­i­dent Donald Trump’s re­cent call to mo­bi­lize about 15,000 troops to the south­ern bor­der be­cause a car­a­van of Cen­tral Amer­i­can refugees is head­ing to­ward the U.S.

Trump char­ac­ter­ized the peo­ple in the car­a­van as “in­vaders” at re­cent cam­paign ral­lies.

“I think it’s a stunt,” McDer­mott said. “To ac­ti­vate thou­sands of mil­i­tary per­son­nel; it’s of­fen­sive.”

Prince called the move po­lit­i­cal pos­tur­ing.

“To send 15,000 troops is a com­plete waste,” he said.

KYLE TELECHAN/POST-TRI­BUNE

KYLE TELECHAN/POST-TRI­BUNE PHO­TOS

An­gelina Lan­caster, from Bal­let Folk­lorico Yolotzin, holds an Amer­i­can flag as she marches Satur­day in Ham­mond’s Vet­er­ans Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Day pa­rade.

Lake County As­ses­sor and pa­rade grand mar­shal Jerome Prince throws candy from a float dur­ing Ham­mond’s Vet­er­ans Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Day pa­rade.

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