Loyalty Parade

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

It's not too tough finding a larger town than Medford, but it would be hard to find a place with a bigger sense of patriotic pride.

"Oh, it's fantastic, I have goose bumps," said Bev Adams, parade organizer.

Medford is home to the National Guard's 724th Engineer Battalion and is a hotbed for patriotic pride.

That pride hasn't gone unnoticed. Wisconsin's Department of Veteran Affairs took note of it and awarded the Medford VFW the rights to host this year's Loyalty Day Parade.

"This is the only one in the state. This is the one city in the state each year to host it and we were selected," said Gary Schafer, Medford VFW Commander.

And it wasn't the first time the parade has landed in Medford. The town played host to the first-ever Loyalty Parade 20 years ago, and about the only thing that's changed over the years, is the names of the soldiers and the wars they've fought in.

Back then, it was aging World War II and Vietnam vets. Those same veterans also marched this time around, but they did so beside troops from America's current conflict the soldiers of the 724th.

"I just want to say thanks to the city and to the people for the continuing support, for everything that you did for the year that we were gone," said Capt. Brian Reitzel, 724th Battalion.

And as the parade proved, there's no doubt Medford's residents are equally as grateful toward the soldiers.

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