Celebration for returning troops

July 5, 2009 3:40:00 PM PDT
Some Burlington County communities celebrated the day after the Fourth and they had some very special reasons to celebrate. It was a patriotic 5th of July in Riverside and Delran, New Jersey, as residents of those towns and nearby Delanco turned out for a colorful and noisy parade to welcome home local troops from a year of service in Iraq.

The parade was organized by members of VFW Post 3020.

"We're Vietnam veterans and we always said nobody gave us a parade, they didn't even like us when we came home, and we swore that these kids would never be treated like we were," VFW Post Commander Tom Farrell said.

The soldiers who were honored were humble, but clearly appreciated their community's support.

"It means a lot. I didn't really think that it was that big of a deal, so it means a lot to the guys coming home," Specialist Chris Maute of the U.S. Army said.

"We didn't go over to come back and have a parade like this and for the township and the VFW to come out and support us like this, I think it's awesome; these guys will be well rewarded when they get home," Sgt. Thomas Polino of the U.S. Army said.

The Fry family was among those who turned out for the parade looking forward to the day their favorite soldier is due to come home.

"My husband is over in Iraq right now; he'll be home in January," Maura Fry of Cinnaminson said.

The parade was followed by a bountiful barbecue and ceremony at the VFW post for the soldiers and their families.

The members of the VFW say they may not be able to throw a parade and barbeque like this everyday, but they will be there everyday supporting the troops until all of them come home.

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