Veterans Day Parade draws thousands to downtown TopekaMotorcycles, classic cars, bands take part in eventPosted: November 8, 2014 - 5:20pm Back | Next ANN MARIE BUSH/THE CAPITAL-JOURNALSeveral branches of the military and different agencies and organizations took part in the second annual Topeka Veterans Day Parade on Saturday in downtown Topeka. Back | Next ANN MARIE BUSH/THE CAPITAL-JOURNALRetired Brig. Gen. Deborah Rose served as the Grand Marshal for the second annual Veterans Day parade in downtown Topeka on Saturday. Back | Next ANN MARIE BUSH/THE CAPITAL-JOURNALJaime Davis and her son, Ryker Davis, 2, were excited to walk in this year's Topeka Veterans Day Parade on Saturday in downtown Topeka. Back | Next ANN MARIE BUSH/THE CAPITAL-JOURNALTeresa O'Neal, right, watches the second annual Topeka Veterans Day Parade on Saturday morning in downtown Topeka with her parents, Frank and Dorothy Ciak, of Topeka. Frank Ciak spent 25 years in the Air Force and served in Korea and Vietnam. Related Stories
By Ann Marie Bush email@example.com Teresa O’Neal grasped her father’s hand in hers Saturday, and together they cheered as veterans from all branches of service strode by at S.W. 8th and Harrison as part of the second annual Veterans Day Parade.
O’Neal’s mother, Dorothy Ciak, of Topeka, sat next to them as American flags flapped in the chilly breeze.
“Thank you for your service,” O’Neal called out to a woman in uniform passing by in the parade.
The woman smiled and said, “You’re welcome.”
O’Neal’s father, Frank Ciak, is a veteran, having spent about 25 years in the Air Force.
“I like to appreciate this wonderful group of people who are taking care of us,” O’Neal said.
The Ciaks were married in 1955 and raised three children.
O’Neal’s husband spent three years in the Air Force, and the couple’s son, Aaron O’Neal, is serving in the Air Force and is stationed in California.
For more than 30 minutes, O’Neal and the Ciaks watched as bands playing patriotic music marched by, classic cars and motorcycles drove past and children collected candy.
Jaime Davis and her son, Ryker Davis, 2, were excited to be marching alongside Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center vehicles. “It’s an awesome opportunity to remember and honor the men and women who have served our country and have given us all of the freedoms we enjoy today,” Davis said.
This year’s parade kicked off in downtown Topeka at 11 a.m.
Retired Brig. Gen. Deborah Rose, who in 2007 became the first woman to ascend to that position in the Kansas National Guard, served as Saturday’s Grand Marshal.
Deputy police chief Tony Kirk participated in this year’s event by riding in a car toward the front of the parade. Kirk’s military service started in the 1980s when he joined the Marine Corps Reserve. He took a break from service but joined the Kansas Army National Guard in 2001. He is a Gulf War veteran, and he recently spent one year in Djibouti, Africa.
“It is phenomenal,” he said of the parade. “The outpouring of support you get as a military person is overwhelming.”
Several area marching bands performed in the parade. Nine members of Highland Park High School’s dance team danced along and cheered as Topeka High School and HPHS bands played patriotic music.
Cooler temperatures didn’t keep HPHS dance team members Zora Green and Kiana Martin away.
“I’ve got my sweater,” Green said with a smile.
The weather didn’t deter attendees either. Thousands lined the streets around the Statehouse.
Melissa Jarboe, organizer of the event, said she didn’t have a finalized number of people watching, but she was happy with Saturday’s parade.
There were 389 entries, and about 2,800 people took part in the Veterans Day Parade. More than 75 volunteers also helped along the route.
Jarboe’s husband, Army Staff Sgt. Jamie Jarboe, died in 2012 from complications after he was seriously wounded by a sniper’s bullet in Afghanistan.
Members of Jamie Jarboe’s former unit, the 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, took part in Saturday’s parade.
“At the end of the parade, I went and sat at the steps of the Capitol,” Melissa Jarboe said. “I think he (Jamie) would be so proud and honored. It was a peaceful moment.”
But the work for Melissa Jarboe and others doesn’t stop. While Jarboe planned on taking a nap Saturday afternoon, planning already is under way for next year’s event.
“We’ll begin taking registrations for next year’s parade on Monday,” she said.
Ann Marie Bush can be reached at (785) 295-1207 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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My name is Melissa Jarboe, military spouse, wounded warrior wife and war widow. Today and everyday moving forward, I will honor the sacrifice of our men and women who selflessly serve our nation.