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Nation's old veterans are fading away from parades

Capt. Gary Edwards, left, commander of the Center for Information Dominance Corry Station, CID Command Master Chief Christopher Thompson, retired Master Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Newton Delchamps and retired Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate Carlyle Herring salute morning colors at the beginning of the 68th anniversary ceremony of the Battle of Midway at CID Corry Station. Delchamps and Herring are Battle of Midway veterans.

NOEL NICHOLS/COURTESY OF THE U.S. NAVY

By Published: November 9, 2011

Parades have been an essential component of Veterans Day for decades.

Established in November 1919 and originally called Armistice Day to honor World War I veterans, the day recognizes U.S. servicemembers who have served the nation. With the death of Frank Woodruff Buckles earlier this year, Friday marks the first Veterans Day observed without any living veterans from the Great War, as it was once commonly known.

World War II veterans now stand alone at the vanguard, though their numbers are dwindling. More than 16 million individuals served the nation in WW II, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Now only about 2 million are living, according to the VA.

The department estimates 850 veterans of that conflict pass away each day. Evidence of that can be found at ceremonies commemorating World War II battles, whether it's in the Far East, Europe or stateside.

In an article in The Las Vegas Review-Journal, for instance, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Silver State Chapter No. 2 announced this would be the last time it participated as a group in the city's annual Veterans Day parade.

"We're all getting to the age now where participating in these events is a trying thing," veteran Ira "Ike" Schab was quoted as saying in the Review-Journal.

Stepping to the forefront at this and other Veterans Day activities is the current generation of Iraq and Afghanistan war vets.      

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