Vietnam War veteran Thomas Dempsey stood next to his wife, Mary Dempsey, on Saturday.
Mary was decked out in red, white and blue attire. She was waving an American flag with her husband standing closely by.
The two Diamondhead natives, along with about 50 other veterans and their families, took part in the city’s Veterans Day Parade on Saturday.
Pat Laird, the junior vice commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2880, organized the parade. The perfect and nearly cloudless weather helped with the turnout, he said.
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Dempsey was a machine gunner and radio operator in the Vietnam War. He earned a Purple Heart after a round of mortar fire threatened his life and the lives of other soldiers in Danang. He wound up in the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. His recovery took more than six months, his wife said.
After parade participants ended their route down Golf Club Drive, they gathered at the Veterans Band Stand next to City Hall. Looking out over the crowd, Laird explained the importance of the day.
“All gave some. Some gave all,” he said. “All veterans have got to be remembered because we can’t let their sacrifice go unnoticed. And no one does more for veterans than the VFW.”
Per capita, Diamondhead attracts a large share of veterans to live in the city, Laird said.
“We get a great turnout here because we have a lot of veterans living here,” he said. “So Diamondhead is very, very good about honoring its veterans.”