Community members on Friday gathered in San Jose for a Veterans Day parade – one of the largest in the country – to honor those who answered the call when the nation needed them.
Leon Gerbin was among those being honored. Today, he proudly wears his colors. But there was a time not long ago when the Vietnam veteran hid his hat.
“I didn’t wear it until five years ago,” Gerbin said. “It was a shameful thing to wear. People disrespected you, spit on you, called you names. Finally I just came out of the shell and said I’m going to be myself.”
Today, Gerbin is honored as an American patriot, a man who volunteered to serve his country.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who serves on the Jan. 6 committee looking into the insurrection, said she came to San Jose on Friday to honor what she says are the real American patriots.
“Patriots are people who believe in the rule of law, who support the Constitution against anarchy and against those who are trying to upend our democratic norms,” she said.
Among the many patriots in attendance were hundreds of women, some veterans themselves.
Rear Admiral Anne Swap was the parade grand marshal, continuing the family legacy of women service members.
Her mother is also a veteran of two years.
“She had to get out because back in the day women couldn’t serve after they got pregnant,” Swap said. “So I’d say that the rules have changed a lot. Women are able to support and serve now, have families and do all the things they want to do.”
Source: NBC Bay Area