Day Parade was one of the most important highlights of our trek. We had
planned to meet two veterans: John Randolph Tucker in Richmond and
James William Carroll in Brewton. We knew them, they both belonged to
the story of cities where some of us were living. We had already
welcomed those two veterans in Belgium.
Taking part in the
Independence Day Parade was the best way to meet the American People
and show them that we didn't forget the young men who came to liberate
Europe. Hundreds thousands of people saw our WWII vehicles and the
Belgian GIs, we were there to say a huge "Thank You, America!" Lots of
WWII veterans also came to meet us.
It is difficult for
you to understand how moved we were while driving our vintage vehicles
marked with the white star. I remember an old lady in a wheelchair,
dressed in a WWII uniform. She was a nurse in Europe in 1944. She came
and touched our Dodge ambulance. She was weeping.
We also visited
Washington, D.C., as ordinary tourists. An official reception was
offered by our Ambassador. It was certainly the first time that Belgian
G.I. invaded the Belgian Embassy. Thanks to the Awex (Agence Wallonne
pour l'EXportation), our stay at Rockwood Manor Park enabled us to find
a quiet place not so far from Washington, DC.
The Awex was also
most helpful in the contacts with the police, the US Army to find a
place where to park the vehicles, the managers of the National
Independence Day Parade. Lots of other "little" problems were solved
thanks to that help. When we arrived in Washington, D.C. we realized
how precious that help was to be.