An army of 2,000 children march in uniform, metals jingling, leading the Veterans Day Parade. Veteran and University of Nevada Reno Adjunct Professor Terry Huburt heard critics.
“Actually a lot of people complain that the parade is mostly a chance for all these ROTCs to perform on the streets and a little bit low on the veterans side of that,” Huber said.
“That is what I came to see, was more veterans,” said World War II Veteran Mark Avakian. Instead of more veterans he saw barbeque and casino floats; opera and animal rescue groups; scouts and potential high school Junior ROTC recruits.
“Things are changing in a lot of ways, there is no respect anymore,” Avakian said.
Back when Vietnam Veteran Mike McFarlan went to Reno High School, there were six kids in Junior ROTC. Now there are 191. The Washoe County School District now has six times as many JROTC instructors as similar-sized cities, and one of the biggest programs in the nation.
That pleases Vietnam Veteran McFarlan. “Um, It makes me happy to see it, of course I enjoy all the enthusiasm from all the kids,” he said. “Now look at ‘em you know. These are a lot of kids, so they must be more patriotic than they were in my day.”