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Veterans honored in Clarksburg

by Gail Marsh

ASSISTANT CITY EDITOR

CLARKSBURG -- Hundreds of area residents came to downtown Clarksburg on Saturday to take in the sights and sounds of this year's Veterans Day parade.

"It's really great to see this many people come out. It means a lot to the older guys who served in World War II and Korea to know that the public remembers what they did," said Michael Kozakewich Jr., a veteran who was the keynote speaker in the ceremony held before the parade on the Harrison County Courthouse plaza.

A small number of residents, many wearing their caps or jackets that identified them as veterans, surrounded the plaza to watch the posting of colors by VFW Post 573 and American Legion Post 13's Color Guard. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the Robert C. Byrd High School band played the national anthem and "Anchors Aweigh."

Saundra Flanagan of Bridgeport spoke during the ceremony, now a Gold Star Mother following the death of her son, Petty Officer First Class Kevin Rux.

Flanagan's son was one of the 17 sailors killed aboard the USS Cole during a bombing attack Oct. 12 while the ship was docked for fueling in Yemen.

"It is with regret that I stand here, but with pride for what my son did for his country," Flanagan said.

Clarksburg Mayor David Kates and council members Kathy Folio and Margaret Bailey presented a proclamation to honor Korean War Veterans during the 50th year anniversary of the war, and the VFW Post 573 and American Legion Post 13 laid a wreath to honor all veterans.

By the end of the ceremony, the streets were lined with people of all ages who braved the cold to watch the parade. Marissa Reppert carried her daughter Rachel, 8 month, while her other daughters Sarah, 2, and Tia, 4, stood on the sidewalk waving American flags.

"One of their grandfathers was a World War II veteran while the other grandfather was a Vietnam veteran, so we're extremely patriotic. They're young, but they understand what this is all about," Reppert said.

Robert "Bob" Moore of Clarksburg stood nearby watching the Liberty High School band and the veterans on motorcycles go by. Moore was in the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II, where he was often on the water for six months at a time.

Moore paused and had a hard time speaking about what the Veterans Day celebration meant to him.

"It still reminds me of the fellows I left out there, and that makes it hard. The president of my class at Victory High School in 1941, Bert Kennedy, was killed during the war," Moore said.

Harry Cutlip of Buckhannon, standing alongside his Kawasaki Voyager motorcycle following the parade, served in the Navy from 1962-64. He and his brother, his cousin and his cousin's two sons all brought their motorcycles to ride in the parade.

"It really brings out the pride in your country. You see the people who come out and it makes you proud to be a part of it, and to have supported your country like I did in the service," he said.

Assistant City Editor Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at gmarsh@exponent-telegram.com

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