SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- Donald Roberts, the 35th Springfield Veteran of the Year has also been a hero in the classroom since returning from service in Vietnam in the 1950s.
Like so many other returning veterans from that era, Roberts recalls the poor treatment from many back home. “My first reflection is when I was discharged, in Oakland. I was informed I should change into civilian clothes because people were not exactly friendly. I had relative who was meeting me there.”
Thursday’s Veterans Day Parade will be a scaled down parade from Springfield Technical Community College to City Hall. Mayor Sarno urged people to observe Veterans Day and turn out for the parade in large numbers.
“Even if this is a scaled down parade the crowds, the abundance of the crowd, is much welcomed to be there,” he told 22News.
Springfield’s Veteran Service Director Tom Belton had the honor almost 20 years ago to be the Veteran of the Year and when asked, what it’s like to have such an honor? “It’s quite an honor, because being a veteran of the year exemplifies the ethos of all veterans, never give up the fight.”
And so Thursday, Veterans day, a smaller but still fervent Veterans Day parade will travel down a familiar route. A parade led by Don Roberts, who had served his country well during the Vietnam War.