Colorado Springs parade Saturday to honor wounded veterans

November 6, 2013 Updated: November 7, 2013 at 8:52 am

More than 3,000 people will march down Tejon Street Saturday in a parade that's aimed at remembering veterans, especially those who suffered combat wounds.

The city's Veterans Day Parade, which starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, seeks to honor wounded troops, said retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Ehrke, president of the event's board.

"We have so many people coming back from overseas, and individuals are probably more damaged from this services of wars than the ones before," Ehrke said.

The parade's grand marshal is Spc. Jacque Hobbs, a retired Fort Carson soldier, who suffers from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries as a result of battle injuries.

"He's an example of the invisible wounds," said parade organizer Eileen Howe.

More than one veteran in five from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq came home with signs of mental trauma, Pentagon studies have found.

Thousands of more came home with visible wounds, including those who lost limbs to roadside bombs, which became the insurgents' weapon of choice in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The tribute to those troops will pack Tejon Street Saturday. The parade has drawn nearly 100 entrants, from Scout groups to marching bands.

Led by a color guard from Fort Carson, the parade will roll south on Tejon from St. Vrain Street to Vermijo Avenue.

Organizers expect thousands of onlookers to cheer the parade along.

"It has become one of the biggest Veterans Day parades in America," Ehrke said.

Because of the big crowds, organizers say people should head downtown early.

The city is offering free parking from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for parade-goers.

"Parking will be free in the city garages and along the parking meters in downtown Colorado Springs.," the city said in a news release.

People should also dress for the weather, which is expected to bring sun and temperatures in the 50s downtown Saturday.

With a dozen years of war winding down. Ehrke, who served 32 years in the Army, said it's important for the public to come out and say thanks.

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