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2013 Louisiana Veterans Honor Parade - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

2013 Louisiana Veterans Honor Parade

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTBS) -

Hundreds lined up to watch the 2nd Annual Louisiana Veterans Honor Parade on Sunday. Veterans, marching bands and more cut through the state fair. The day was certainly full of pomp and circumstance. It's all to celebrate the sacrifices of veterans who fought for our nation and the world's freedom, like World War Two vet Paul Madden.

Madden says veterans awareness is getting better, the parade is a sign of progress. However, he feels the nation still doesn't realize the historic value of these men and women and the stories they hold.

"Our kids probably don't know anything about it," Madden said. "The French kids do, and I think they're missing something in the states when they don't have more interest in history."

He's part of that history. Madden says he served in the 95th Infantry Division, which helped free the city of Metz, France from the Germans. He was just 19 and was a messenger. Madden says the cold November battle left many soldiers scared and apprehensive. Death surrounded them.

"At the beginning, you had the feeling of nothing is going to happen to me. I'm going to be all right," Madden said. "As time went on, you got the feeling, you'd see your buddy's head... go to the hospital killed. Then you got to thinking, maybe. Then if you got to standing around long enough, you got to saying, the question became when."

Madden says he had several close calls. American and German troops were never far from each other. One day, his location was hit by an 88 milliliter shell. He was less than ten feet from it.

"It hit in a doorway. I was in a cellar and was fixing to go out through a door," Madden said. "I was going to take a message somewhere. It just hit in the door and kind of spun around like a top. It just didn't go off fortunately."

All veterans in Sunday's parade have stories or history to tell like Madden. He encourages those watching the parade to hear them before they're lost. Madden enlisted in the army in 1943 and traveled to Europe in 1944, landing in France 100 days after D-Day.  He served nearly a year there along the western lines, pushing the Nazis back into Germany.

 

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