- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 4, 2006

FROSTBURG, Md. (AP) — More than 1,000 U.S. military veterans walked, rumbled and rolled down Frostburg’s flag-lined Main Street yesterday in a parade marking the 230th anniversary of America’s independence.

Onlookers cheered marchers including Iraq war veteran Sgt. William Alt, 28, and fellow Cumberland, Md., resident Floyd Wigfield, who participated in the 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy.

“I think it’s real nice,” said Mr. Wigfield, 87, a retired electrician who wore his green wool Army uniform despite soaring heat and humidity. “They’re celebrating all the veterans for years and years.”

The 1,000 Veterans March in Frostburg featured the Army’s highest-ranking enlisted soldier, locally raised Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston, and two Medal of Honor recipients — former Marine Cpl. Hershel “Woody” Williams, a World War II veteran from Ona, W.Va.; and former Army Spc. John P. Baca, of San Diego, a Vietnam veteran.

Tom Clayton, 52, a Vietnam-era Air Force veteran from nearby Luke, Md., said he felt honored that such highly decorated veterans had come to Frostburg, a Western Maryland college town of about 8,100.

The parade was spearheaded by local World War II Army veteran Albert Via, who said participants had come from far and wide. They lined up for more than half a mile on foot, in cars, on motorcycles and aboard flatbed trailers for the parade’s 9 a.m. start.

“Isn’t that a beautiful sight?” said Mr. Via, 89. “It’s been a dream of mine all these years to do this.”

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