AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Aiken Saturday morning to honor our nation’s heroes. It was the first memorial day parade since the city’s covid restrictions have lifted. People we spoke with say the day is more than just about honoring our veterans, but also a day of celebration.
“Covid is gone, we’re back everybody was out, I have never seen larger crowds,” said South Carolina Rep. Bill Taylor.
Those words coming from representative Bill Taylor as people from the community filled the streets for the Aiken Memorial Day parade.
“This is by far, in all my years of doing this the largest memorial day parade ever. There’s only three in south carolina, we’re the biggest and we’re the best,” said Rep. Taylor.
It was an overflow of red, white, and Palmetto pride. Saturday’s parade featured appearances by the Parris island marine band, South Carolina 246th army band, and of course some Aiken horses.
“Love the horses, they were good, well behaved, they’re wonderful,” said Tina Lazar.
Aiken’s Memorial Day parade was an annual tradition until the pandemic hit the city.
“It was wonderful to see everybody out here without masks, being next to each other, real close to each other, it was wonderful,” said Lazar.
“I’m with my best friend and we’ve been tied up in covid for a long time,” said Stephen Thomas.
And for one Aiken veteran, saturday’s parade was more than just a commemoration for our fallen heroes, but also a celebration of a different kind of freedom.
“To see the veterans there, the crowd cheer, people out, life starting again after this terrible pandemic,” said Michael Muran.
He says now he’s looking forward to this new normal.
“It’s the beginning of our world again,” he said.