Old, young veterans celebrated in Birmingham - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Old, young veterans celebrated in Birmingham

By Ashley Nix

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It's the nation's oldest and one of the largest Veteran's Day parades.  Through downtown Birmingham, it winds and weaves it's way through a crowd of thousands on a sunny, November day.  Sitting on the back of a convertible Camaro, Andrew Tsimpides.   "It's one of the highlights of my life at this time, to be here."

The 94-year old is Alabama's only living Calvary soldier, even riding his horse in the parade up until a couple of years ago.  A World War II Veteran, he knows his generation is shrinking.  He says it's a sad reality.  "There's no one around I know, they're all gone,Tsimpides said.  "My buddies I served with, there's no one I can talk to.  I feel like I'm kindof, being the last one, well I feel alone sometimes."

That, in itself, makes all the people waving American flags and showing patriotism even more special.  "He's amazing," said Captain Tony McCarty.  "Just being this close to him is an honor."  McCarty brought cadets from Lyman Ward Military Academy to the parade, and is thinking about all the lessons Tsimpides can teach them.  "What couldn't he teach our cadets?  Honor, duty, country, sacrifice."

17-year old Mathew Bednarick hopes he can grow up to be just like his new 94-year old friend.  "It's amazing he still rode his horse in the parade until a couple of years ago," said Bednarick.  "And he was a Calvary soldier?  That's one of the most amazing things ever!"

Tsimpides son has followed in his footsteps, just returning home from his 3rd tour of duty overseas.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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