Onlookers of all ages gathered to watch the 34th annual Lough Legacy Veterans Parade hosted by The Historic Trust at Fort Vancouver on Saturday.
Dozens of local organizations and groups marched to honor veterans this year: marching bands from local schools, old tractors from the Fort Vancouver Antique Equipment Association, a hoard of Corvettes, local cub and boy scout troops, and many others filled the streets as onlookers cheered their appreciation for veterans.
Henry Ellis, 6, and his brother Archer Ellis, 3, handed out hand-drawn cards to veterans marching in the parade, thanking them for their service.
“I worked really hard on them,” Henry said, before running off to hand out his last card.
“My husband and I, both of our dads were veterans and both of my brothers are,” said Kacie Ellis, Henry and Archer’s mom. “Our dads aren’t with us anymore, and we just try to come every year (to the veterans parade) to show our support and gratitude.”
While many of the onlookers have been coming to the parade for years, it was the first time for some, like 99-year-old World War II veteran Wink Lamb.
Raised in Longview and now a Vancouver resident, Lamb served in the Philippines as a paratrooper in the 11th Airborne Division during World War II.
Lamb is also a world record-setting swimmer. He swam in high school and for a year in college before he was drafted. In his 80s, he took to swimming once again. Now, at almost 100, he is a competitive swimmer, recently winning a competition in Virginia for swimmers in the 100-to-104-year-old category.
Despite living in Vancouver for decades, Lamb had never been to the annual veterans parade before. This year, his swim coach, Valerie Jenkins, encouraged him to join her.
“No rain for the day — that was great,” Lamb said, adding that he enjoyed watching the parade more than he had expected he would.
Food, drinks and tricks
Following the parade, the Community Military Appreciation Committee of Vancouver hosted an open house at the Artillery Barracks of Fort Vancouver, offering free food and drinks. Booths from a variety of organizations lined the room, handing out goods and providing information on services for veterans and how to enlist for those interested in serving in the military.
At one of the booths, local corporate magician Craig Martin showed off his stuff.
One of his tricks involved accurately predicting the last four digits of an audience member’s phone number and the birthday of another’s child. Martin also performed a trick in which he asked an audience member to choose a painting from Leonardo da Vinci. The participant chose the Mona Lisa, and Martin proceeded to transform a standard deck of cards into an image of the Mona Lisa holding a nine of spades, a card a different audience member had chosen.
Retiring from the army in 2014 after 30 years of service, Martin has been a corporate magician ever since, though he has been in the entertainment business for decades.
“The whole time I was serving, I performed,” Martin said.
The day’s events drew people from all over Clark County to celebrate and honor those who have served in the U.S. military.
“I really enjoy just being able to thank all the veterans both past and present,” said Emily Wattez, a volunteer at Fort Vancouver who helped set off the cannons that announced the start of the parade.