While many communities are ready to tear themselves apart because of political differences, one community has chosen to focus on love and unity. In Cincinnati, Ohio, members of the community decided to give a World War II veteran a birthday surprise he’ll never forget – a parade.
Command Sgt. Major Henry Armstrong served for 41 years in the US Army. The 96-year-old veteran has a number of great memories from the time that he served – and even received the French Legion of Honor medal in 2016.
Why does he get a parade? Because. It’s just because. The community wanted to do something for a veteran because he was turning 96. That’s all. There was no political motive whatsoever.
Neighbors and first responders throughout the community wanted to honor the veteran on his birthday. A big parade was thrown in his honor. Family and friends knew about it but it was kept a secret to Armstrong until the big reveal.
"You don't realize how many friends you have until something like this happens, and my wife has been very ill and we find out we got more friends than we thought we had."
— WLWT (@WLWT) November 8, 2020
Video footage has shown that there was a mini parade, complete with a truck with children and adults in the back, holding signs and blowing kisses. The veteran waved back, holding back tears. “It was definitely a surprise,” he told a local news station.
Police cars drove by with lights flashing and sirens blaring. As the parade drove by, many dropped by bags and cards to wish him a happy birthday. Countless acts of love and selfishness were performed this past Saturday in front of Armstrong’s home.
Although Armstrong’s wife has been sick, he said that they have quickly found out that they had a lot more friends than they ever thought. He said that it’s a “privilege” to see that many people come by and wish him such a happy birthday. He has thanked everyone who was a part of the parade.
Armstrong’s birthday comes just before Veterans Day when there is an entire holiday dedicated to honoring those who have served. Unfortunately, due to the COVID pandemic, many of the celebrations have been canceled in an effort to practice social distancing. Additionally, the political angst in many cities is making it difficult to hold festivities. So, they’re choosing to do nothing. And it’s a shame for all of the veterans because they deserve so much better.
Cincinnati, however, has proven that they know what’s important. They wanted to honor a veteran who spent so many years serving and protecting. Armstrong was involved in the liberation of Gunskirchen Lager, an Austrian concentration camp. It’s the reason why he was honored with the French Legion of Honor medal a few years ago.
Now, it’s amazing to see how a community can come together. Even though there is a pandemic, people found a safe way to pay tribute to a man on his birthday. This was a surprise that the 96-year-old won’t forget. And it’s not even just for the veteran himself. It’s for everyone to prove that it doesn’t matter what the political temperament of the country is. It doesn’t matter about Republican or Democrat. It’s about being a good person.
Too many people want to turn everything into a political battle. Dems are ready to figure out ways to punish Trump supporters. A vote for Trump is now a reason to be condemned. Whatever happened to such simple things as ‘love thy neighbor?’
We need to learn from Cincinnati. This community has it all right. They celebrated a veteran. They celebrated him simply because of his birthday and all that he did for the country. They didn’t care about his political leaning or even who he voted for. It’s just a way to say ‘thank you’ and ‘happy birthday.’
Hopefully, we can see more of this – especially as Veterans Day is fast approaching. There may not be as many parades as in years past, but there should be some tolerance and some gratitude.