A local group of veterans showed pride in not only their country, but also their community, by leading the Monroeville Fourth of July parade Monday.
“It’s just a really nice event,” veteran Jason Fabrizi said. “I was quite taken aback the first time we did it. All the support along the way — the kids and families really enjoy seeing us walk through.”
Fabrizi, along with several other Marine veterans from the Forbes Trail Detachment 797 of the League in Monroeville, led the parade as a color guard.
The veterans carried the American and flags as well as rifles.
Veteran and Forbes Trail Detachment member Tom Bourke said the sense of pride and patriotism during the parade makes him proud to be from the eastern suburbs.
“I spent many holidays deployed in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan and I’m sure there are guys and gals from the local area deployed in harm’s way right now,” he said. “When people show up to events like this, they’re not just showing enthusiasm for the community, they’re displaying support for fellow Americans serving all over the world.”
Fabrizi, 47, said Independence Day is a holiday close to his heart, having served in the Marines from 1987 to 1992. He said he spent most of his time serving in Southeast Asia.
“It just gives you a real sense of pride in your country,” he said. “We’ve fought for our country — we understand the freedoms that we have here.”
He said he felt that the parade and showing patriotism was especially needed this year after the country has endured several domestic terror attacks.
He said he doesn’t want the country to feel defeated by the recent attacks, but instead wants it come together to remain strong.
“We can withstand whatever comes our way,” Fabrizi said.
Fabrizi said that after the parade, he always holds a cookout for friends and family, where they talk about what makes them proud to be Americans.
He said even though he is no longer on active duty, he still upholds the oath he took when he became a Marine.
“They always say, ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine,’” Fabrizi said.
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. She can be reached at 412-871-2369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.