The aged wooden slats that make up storied Virginia City's downtown sidewalks were swollen and slick with rain Sunday morning as more than 100 local veterans were outnumbered two-to-one by eager onlookers at the town's annual Veterans Day Parade.
While bigger crowds have descended to the historic mining town in recent year's past for the festivities honoring those who've served, both participants and those who simply came to watch, support, and fly a flag, were not disappointed.
"I think one thing consistent about this area is the people who serve - and the appreciation for them," said Lancer Maciel, of Fallon. "This is the best place to go to honor vets. People come up here every year, rain or shine."
Maciel, who had tucked a tiny American flag in the breast pocket of his Carhart jacket, was dressed in Sunday casual and strolling Main Street as a civilian - later revealing he's been in the Air Force since 1995 and is still active-duty.
"This is just a good place to be on a day like today," he said.
Thomas Dougan, 16, and some 80 cadets from the Incline High School JROTC marched in the parade honoring veterans.
While Dougan could not predict how far his service will carry him beyond his high school years, he said the annual trip to march in Virginia City is "recognized as important among the cadets."
"I was actually taking pictures," he said. "Seeing (veterans) march makes you realize what sacrifices have been made for our nation's freedoms."
In all, the parade featured 35 entries and, while inclement weather conditions meant the parade took place start-to-finish in under a half hour, the meaning was not lost in the brevity of the ceremony.
"I was in the Army and in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970," said Virginia City resident Don Nelson, clad in his Army fatigue jacket and a camouflage undershirt. "I march with the same crew of guys every year and, God willing, we'll be able to continue to do so."
Nelson commented on the absence thus far of vets from the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan:
"I'm sure in a few years those men and women will be marching alongside us," he said. "It's the way things go."
• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
Virginia City's Veterans Day Parade participants:
• American Legion Post 56 of Carson City
• Grand Marshal Glenn Tierney
• Virginia City Vietnam Vets Bill Avansino, Don Nelson, Bill Pearson and Bret Stockwell
• Sierra Pacific Highlanders Pipe Band
• Iwo Jima vet John Bailey of Dayton
• VFW Post 8660 of Dayton
• Churchill County High School Navy ROTC Color Guard and Parade Team
• Korean War Vets of Carson City
• High Desert Detachment, Marine Corps Color Guard
• Northern Nevada Devil Pups Youth Group Color Guard of the Marine Corps
• VFW Post 1002 from Fallon
• Incline High School JROTC
• Carson City Marine Corps League
• Local veterans Jim Reinheller and Tom Arrilaga
• The Sagebrush Studebakers, a local car club
• The Washoe Zephyrs Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution
• Cub Scout Den 3, Pack 16, from Carson City
• Comstock Aerie 523, Fraternal Order of Eagles
• Roger C. Vaughn Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy from Fallon
• Sgt. Major's Silver Dollar Saloon in Virginia City
• Bill Moline and Smoky Bear with the Nevada Division of Forestry
• Rudy Rodarte of Dayton
• Virginia City Living Legends
• Nevada National Guard veterans
• The Pony Express Association, Nevada Chapter
• Karson Kruzers Car Club of Carson City.
• Melvin Moore, a vet of World War II in the Navy and the Air Force
• South Lake Tahoe High School ROTC
• VFW Post 2288 of Fort Churchill, of Silver Springs
• The Navy League with their replica of the U.S.S. Hornet
• Ralph and Sandy Theiss portraying Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
• Battle Born V8 Ford Club and the Vintage Fords
• Vietnam Veterans of America, Carson City chapter
• Fleet Reserve Association
• The McDonald Family, honoring their father, who died in Vietnam