Memorial Day weekend celebration ends with parade, ceremony

Columbia Memorial Day events

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Salute to Veterans Corporation wrapped up the 2014 Memorial Day weekend celebration Monday afternoon with a parade and ceremony in downtown Columbia.

The event, in its 26th year, ended with a parade down Broadway. The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team opened the parade by parachuting onto Broadway with the U.S. and Canadian flags.

"We came down here today, hoping we'd see them again," said parade-goer Chris Cook. "Because the last couple years, we were not able to see them because of the weather."

Carol Woodard, a retired Navy veteran, said it's remarkable to watch the Golden Knights land on such a small target.

"Just to see them hit their mark, and their precision," Woodard said.

After an hour of the parade, floats, participants and spectators ended up at the Boone County Courthouse for the wreath-laying ceremony. Organizations, such as the VFW and Daughters of the American Revolution, left wreaths in front of the war memorials outside the courthouse. 

"Freedom is not free," Vice Admiral Jody Breckenridge of the U.S. Coast Guard said in the keynote speech of the ceremony. "It's not a slogan or a banner, but an acknowledgement and an understanding of the price that has been paid, and of the vigilance required to ensure the next, and future, generations, enjoy those liberties we hold so dear."

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