COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — For 55 years now the Commerce City Memorial Day parade has been a fan favorite. Thousands come out every year to watch the largest Memorial Day parade in the state.
But for one veteran who fought in a very unpopular war at the time, this parade is personal.
Every year, you will find Vietnam veteran Barry Reece right here, with a front row seat near the grandstand, at the Memorial Day Parade. “In the fox hole you had to depend on the guy that was with you. And the guy that was with you could’ve been anything in the world. You had to trust one another and that’s why there is such a kinship because we lost a lot of them over there,” said Reece.
That’s why he’s here, “I lost a lot of friends, a lot of friends.“
As the colorful floats, bands and parade favorites roll by, Reece still thinks about the war he continued to fight, even when he was coming home.
“I had a lady who is going to throw a Coke at my dress uniform but I stepped back in enough time. I had people wanting to step on my shoes. Got on the plane to come home and six or seven of the passengers asked me if I was returning from Vietnam, they asked to have different seats on the airplane.“
Reece comes here to remember his fallen comrades, ”There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about them.“
He also is here to welcome home a young kid who wasn’t so welcomed all those years ago. “The parade was my welcome home and I’ve been coming to it ever since I got back in 1969.”
Times have changed a little bit since 1969, ”Yeah, a lot more than what it was when I came home, but it really means something to me when it’s said, welcome home.”
Thank you for your service, Barry Reece, and welcome home.