- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 4, 2001

Old soldiers never die nor will the youngsters allow them to fade away this coming Veterans Day.
"Our veterans should get far more recognition than they do," said Tromain Hawkins, a ninth-grader from Eastern Senior High School in Northeast.
He was one of about 600 students who got the jump on next Sunday's Veterans Day parade by giving American soldiers of all past wars win, lose or draw an early "Thank You" during a national patriotism parade.
It's been years since veterans have been treated like heroes on Nov. 11. Most celebrations have either been sparsely attended or overly somber affairs in which the tears outweigh the cheers. This year looks as if the cheers will return, given the rise of patriotism following the terrorist attacks September 11 and the war against terrorism in Afghanistan.
Tromain, 14, stood at attention in the rain yesterday, not far from Soldiers and Airmen Home in Northwest, dressed as a World War II GI in an olive green uniform and pot-shaped helmet.
The teen, part of Eastern Senior High School's Historic Color Guard, never muttered a word of complaint during the early morning downpour.
Marquita Henry, 17, was dressed as a doughboy, reminding onlookers of the soldiers who defended the United States in World War I against Germany, Austria and other Axis powers.
Ebony Stanback, 17, was in her "Glory," as a Civil War solider: Rachel Carter, 15, donned the two-toned khaki uniform of Desert Storm, while Xavier Drake, 18, was dressed as a solider in the Revolutionary War.
"The parade shows our appreciation for the people who sacrificed their lives so that our lives could be better. This shows that everybody's not taking their sacrifice for granted," Marquita said.
The 21/2-mile parade started at the intersection of North Capitol Street and Rock Creek Church Road in Northwest yesterday at 10:30 a.m. In it were high school marching bands and Junior ROTC cadets from all of the District's four quadrants and various veterans organizations.
Jerald Woody, 53, attended the parade to honor his father who served in World War II and who is now deceased. He said his father, Jerome Joshua Jones, received a medal for valor for his service in the South Pacific.
"He was a patriot," Mr. Woody said of his father.
Mr. Woody has nothing but respect for those who have risked their lives in service.
The holiday has never reached the level of respect it enjoyed during the late 1940s and early 1950s when returning World War II veterans were in their prime. Since then, it has been batted around and renamed.
It was first known as Armistice Day, a date set aside by the United States, Britain and France to mark the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the precise moment when the guns fell silent on the Western Front and ended what was then known as the War to End All Wars.
After World War II, recognition was expanded to include the veterans and the dead of that war. In 1954, after the Korean War, the observance was officially changed to honor all veterans of the U.S. armed services.
"So many gave up their ambitions and careers to be soldiers. They fought for the honor of the United States Constitution. And, it's the Constitution that drives Americans, particularly in the District, where there's a lot of patriotism," Mr. Woody said.
Mr. Woody, who works with children, was glad to see the students from all over the District out en masse. Although the day started on a dreary note, the parade ended with sunny skies and smiling faces at North Capitol and P Streets Northeast.
Richard Sowell, one of the organizers of the event, said, "The kids did us proud. They might not have all been in step, but whatever their commanders taught them they did it well," he said.
After the parade ended, folks were treated to drills from the participating schools on the parking lot at Jemal's Gateway in Northeast.
Northwest's Calvin Coolidge's Marching Band in their orange and gray wowed the audience with their rendition of "Let It Whip," by the Dazz Band, which won a lot of smiles.


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