Thankful for freedom

PERKINS TWP. Yoyo Martinez wore her pride for the annual Memorial Day Parade. The 2-year old
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Yoyo Martinez wore her pride for the annual Memorial Day Parade.

The 2-year old sported a stars and stripes dress and, before the parade and candy throwing began, several small American Flags in her hands.

Martinez was in good company with her father, uncle, two brothers and hundreds of other parade watchers in red, white and blue shirts and military hats, many carrying flags as an accessory and participatory prop for the more than 80-unit parade.

The sunny and mild May weather made for a crowd of lawnchairs, truck tailgates and curb-sitting along the parade route.

The parade kicked off with a memorial service at the Ohio Veterans Home before traveling down the home's main corridor and heading North on Milan Road to Oakland Cemetery.

Charlotte Myers had the camcorder and digital camera ready to capture all her grandchildren in action.

Memorial Day is a special time for the Myers family, with a son currently based in Okinawa Japan as a Green Beret.

Her husband, Tony Myers, helped with parade traffic. Honoring the fallen is very important to the veteran who served four tours of duty in Vietnam.

"It's special to him. He remembers the guys who didn't come back from Vietnam with him," she said.

Myers' two granddaughters were twirling with their baton corps, the Kiddettes, in the parade -- a three-generation family tradition made for a proud grandmother. Her grandson, Gavin, walked with his baseball team, passing out candy to a free-for-all of kids along the route.

For 1-year-old twins, Aubree and Gracee Camp, it was a little early to collect candy, but not too early to start the family tradition of watching the parade beneath a shade tree with mom and dad Brandon and Gina Camp. The girls were happy to play in their polka dot, red and blue dresses while sitting in their wagon waiting for the parade.

Further down the route, Robin and Matthew Hall sat on a truck bed.

Matthew Hall, 10, said candy is a nice perk, but his purpose in attending the parade was to honor the veterans.

At first, Yoyo Martinez wasn't sure what to think about the candy being thrown by various groups in the parade, a shy and timid Yoyo held her dad and uncles hand at first when she dared to step forward and take her share of goodies.

The noise from fire trucks didn't please her either, but midway through the parade, she had caught on to the waving and candy tossing -- wanting to eat immediately every piece tossed her direction.

Noisy historical military trucks, classic cars, police cruisers, fire trucks and floats all carried parade participants down the straight stretch to the cemetery in front of cheering and clapping crowds.

When the Kiddettes performed, the crowd clapped and tapped their feet along to the music, cheering for the girls.

"I like the music the best," said Yoyo's 7-year-old brother Juan Martinez Jr.

Martinez got the hear the Marine Corps hymn and several other patriotic numbers before the end of the parade.

The parade concluded with a service at Oakland Cemetery.