Veteran's Day Parade - Hillside, IL - 7 Nov 2009
My Dad - 88 years old - wearing his 67 yr old dress uniform.
He was a forward observer - medium artillery - 155mm (6") Howitzers - the M114.
Here we are in the parade. Fuzzy picture from my wife's camera.
The 3B ran like a champ. Idling in 1st gear / low range was the perfect speed. Stayed right in sync with ROTC groups in front and behind us. Only had to drop out of gear for parade stops maybe a half dozen times. Piece of cake. Engine temp sat rock solid on 180 degrees. Perfect weather - 65 degrees, sunny and a nice breeze to lift the flags. I had a ball.
My Dad had a great time too. He especially liked pointing right at kids who were waving at him and giving them a big smile. They always responded with a huge smile and a bigger wave.
There were only two other Jeeps in the parade. One nicely restored MB that blew out its starter in the staging area. A bunch of guys pushed it and it bump started OK. The other was a dark blue 3A with a snow plow mount. He led a big Knights of Columbus group.
While climbing in and out of the 3B, Dad commented on how high off the ground it was. I looked at the MB down the line and WOW, it was really close to the ground. Big difference. Even the 3A was noticeably lower. I'm wondering what makes my 3B so tall. It can't be just the tires - they're 6.50x16 which aren't that much taller than the standard 7.00x15 NDTs that the military Jeeps have.
Memorial Day Parade - Elmhurst, IL - 31 May 2010
Another great day - perfect weather.
Really great crowd - sidewalks solidly lined for 10 blocks.
photo - Jim W
photo - Jim W
Memorial Day - Elmhurst, IL - 26 May 2014
Dad's now 93 years old and still going strong. But his uniform no longer fits.
One week before the parade I bought a 1946 CJ-2A. My buddy John scrambled and got it painted OD (Olive Drab = Army green) in time - final coat 20 hours before the parade start. Perfect weather again and a huge crowd.
photo - Ambuh
photo - Elmhurst Press
Here's the whole article from the paper. Note we are the star attraction. Woohoo.
Also, the week before the parade, I took Dad shopping at some Army surplus stores, looking for an authentic uniform he could wear. After 70 years, he had finally outgrown his original, Forest Green dress uniform. You can see it in the pictures above of previous parades. The retirement village where he lives has a really, really good cook. At Chicago Army Navy Surplus (which, sadly, went out of business in 2016 or so), we found an Eisenhower jacket in a size that fit him (2 sizes bigger than his original WWII Ike jacket) with pants and shirt to match. Thanks Bob. I moved the insignia from his Forest Green dress coat and he was ready to parade.
photo - Jim W
There were several high level, career military in the parade. They hung around us and the Jeep while waiting for the parade to start. The Grand Marshall turned out to be Army and Artillery no less - 8" (203mm) self-propelled Howitzers. He talked with us for 20 minutes or more - a very nice guy. He and Dad talked artillery. He and I talked Jeeps. Turned out he's a Jeep guy as well and was very interested in my pseudo-Army, parade Jeep project.
photo - Jim W
At the end of the parade, at the Reviewing Stand, Dad sat with all the big brass. They out-ranked him by a big margin (Colonels, Lt Colonels, Commanders, Majors, etc.) but were, to a man, respectful and friendly with him. They included him as one of them though he was a lowly 1st Looey.
If you look closely, you can see Dad's wearing his original Army socks. How authentic can you get?
Memorial Day - Elmhurst, IL - 25 May 2015
It rained on our parade but it didn't stop it.
I had been out of town for 10 days, returning late on Saturday night before Memorial Day so I didn't have time or energy to get the pseudo-army 2A out of mothballs. So we drove the 3B which turned out to be a good thing. We left the top up and didn't get wet. Everybody else got pretty well soaked by the time it was over.
Veterans Day - Hillside, IL - 5 Nov 2016
We did the Hillside parade again this yeear but it was a struggle. The Wednesday before I got the 2A out to get it ready. It would start but wouldn't stay running. By Friday I finally gave up and pulled the 3B out to use it instead. Moving it around the yard the brake pedal suddenly went to the floor. Small hole blown in a brake line. I called the parade coordinator to tell her we couldn't make it. She told me to bring Dad in any vehicle I had, it didn't matter. So I pulled the doors off the JK and we ran the parade in it. Unfortunately, no pictures. I was just frustrated enough that I didn't think about pics. Oh well, next year.
Memorial Day - Elmhurst, IL - 29 May 2017
It was a perfect day. Bright sunshine, moderate temps, cool, gentle breeze.
The 2A ran like a watch after some help from my buddy John to get the carb working.
Memorial Day - Elmhurst, IL - 28 May 2018
Again a great day for a parade. Somehow I didn't get as many pictures but Dad's still going strong.