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Parade for veterans gives families a chance to visit for first time in two months

A drive thru veterans parade at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. The residents of the Community Living Center were treated to the parade by family members who hadn't seen their loved ones for over two months.

JOE SONGER, AL.COM/TNS

By GREG GARRISON | Alabama Media Group | Published: May 19, 2020

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (Tribune News Service) — World War II veteran Paul Arnett, 94, hadn’t seen his wife, Marsha, in 68 days.

“Before that, I have been here every day for the past two and a half years,” Marsha said. To prevent the spread of coronavirus, visitation at the assisted living center stopped in mid-March.

On Tuesday morning, Marsha took part in a parade at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center where dozens of veterans lined the sidewalk outside the Community Living Center.

A long line of cars drove through waving, and shouting to their loved ones.

“I’m so glad to get to see you, sweetheart!” Marsha shouted through the passenger window of her car. “Don’t forget me!”

Arnett said he was born in Piedmont on Feb. 8, 1926. “I was young to go in that war, but I volunteered,” he said. He served in the 90th Division, he said.

“We fought all the way in that war, from D-Day to VE Day,” Arnett said.

All his buddies are gone, he said. “They’re all dead.”

Memorial Day is coming up Monday, but most public events to honor the nation’s war dead have been canceled because of the international COVID-19 pandemic.

Arnett had a sign on his wheelchair that said, “Love U Marsha.”

Marsha had a sign on her car that said, “Marsha (heart) Paul.”

After the parade of cars went through once, they came around again.

“Where’d my wife go?” Paul asked.

“She’s coming back around,” a nurse said.

“She’s a good old girl,” Arnett said. “She’s put up with me all these years.”

Men in wheelchairs held signs that said, “We miss you.”

For a short time on Tuesday morning in Tuscaloosa, the nation’s military veterans got some love.

“It’s been wonderful, just wonderful,” Marsha said.

©2020 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham
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A drive thru veterans parade at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. The residents of the Community Living Center were treated to the parade by family members who hadn't seen their loved ones for over two months.
TNS

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