America saluted its fighting troops of 200 years Wednesday in Veterans Day tributes across the land, from the snow-swept tombstones of Arlington National Cemetery to the nation's big cities and small towns.
The annual Veterans Day parade in Boston went on as scheduled, despite temperatures in the low 30s and a glaze of ice on the streets, although in western Massachusetts parades at Pittsfield and North Adams were canceled because of the season's second widespread snow.
Boston Patrolman Jack Kervin said veterans in the city's parade weren't going to let the cold stop them from marching. "Soldiers fight in all types of weather," he said. "It'll give those marchers flashbacks of their miserable days in boot camp."
In Pittsburgh, snow gave way to sunshine in time for several thousand people to turn out to cheer Vice President George Bush as he marched in that city's parade. "Once a year, it doesn't do anything but good to have a renewed sense of patriotism and a renewed sense of honor," Bush said.
sh Attendance Sparse
Rain, sleet and freezing temperatures made attendance sparse in New York City as fewer than 1,000 paraders followed Mayor Edward I. Koch 15 blocks down 5th Avenue.
About a dozen members of the Gay Veterans Assn., the last contingent in the parade, marched past protesters. John Morahan, speaking for the American Legion, said the homosexual veterans were welcome to march as long as they didn't display advocacy signs. "They served the country and they're entitled," he said.
At a ceremony after the parade, Koch said: "The greatest blemish of all is that there are maybe 2,500 vets here in the city who are homeless and are sleeping either in our dorm shelters, or worse still, out on the streets."
Elsewhere in the city, a 275-bed homeless shelter was dedicated that is the first in the nation intended only for veterans, according to its sponsor, the Salvation Army.
In Little Rock, Ark., about 700 people watched the unveiling of a Vietnam veteran statue standing as the centerpiece of a memorial bearing the names of 645 Arkansans who died in the conflict.
Cold, blustery wind greeted parade marchers across Georgia, but World War II veteran Lou Atterberry Jr. didn't seem to mind as he snapped salutes at passing ROTC and military units in Savannah's parade.
sh Kentucky Memorial
Kentucky honored its war dead and veterans with the rededication of the refurbished, 137-year-old state War Memorial at Frankfort. Plaques around the 65-foot monument relate the state's role in conflicts including the Revolutionary War and the Texas War of Independence.
Soldiers buried around the monument include the first to plant the American flag on foreign soil, Marine Lt. Presley O'Bannon, who secured his place in history on the shores of Tripoli in 1805.
Birmingham, Ala., celebrating its 41st consecutive Veterans Day, claims to have the oldest and largest such observance in the nation. Its parade included dozens of floats, bands and pieces of military hardware.
In Evansville, Ind., residents showed their appreciation with a hot lunch for needy veterans. About 75 stood in line before noon.