WANTED: Latino Veterans for parade

Memorial Day parade seeks more Latino veterans
By ROEL GARCIA, The Holland Sentinel, May 10, 2009

Vietnam veteran Sergio Orozco has lived in the Holland area for about 20 years, yet he’s never marched in the Holland Memorial Day Parade.

“I’ve never been invited,” said Orozco, 64, of Fillmore Township, who served in the U.S. Army.

The Holland Memorial Day Parade Committee is now extending the invitation to Latinos and other minorities interested in participating in the annual parade.

“We want all veterans to feel it’s their parade and be honored. We want them to march,” said Diana Van Kolken, committee co-chairwoman.

Interested in marching?

For information on how to participate or march in the Memorial Day parade, call Diana Van Kolken at (616) 396-4588 or Judie Zylman at (616) 392-9070.

Orozco participated in the South Haven parades when he lived in Glenn. Since then, he’s not marched in a parade.

When he marched in those parades, Orozco was the lone Latino marching. The same went for the time he marched in a parade in a small town in Indiana.

“I don’t know why we (Latinos) don’t march in the parades,” he said. “I’ve never marched here in Holland, but it wouldn’t hurt me any to march every once in awhile.”

This year’s parade will start at 9:30 a.m. on May 25 in downtown Holland.

The parade will start on Eighth Street and finish at Pilgrim Home Cemetery.

Marta Muniz feels Memorial Day is special. Her father, Candelario Garcia, was a World War II veteran and is buried at Pilgrim Home Cemetery.

Muniz’s father never marched in the parade.

“It’s something I wish he’d done. I don’t know if he just didn’t know how to be in the parade or what,” Muniz said.

Muniz talked with Van Kolken and is trying to get the word out to all veterans to march in the parade.

She also talked to her brother, who served in Vietnam, and some friends to try to get them to participate.

The parade committee will start placing flyers out this week to alert all veterans about the opportunity to march.

Veterans do not have to wear uniforms or walk — convertibles will be available to transport veterans unable to walk, said committee co-chairwoman Judie Zylman.

“We’ll line up veterans on Eighth Street in line with the war they served in. And if they served in between, they can choose whether they want to go with the war ahead or the war behind,” Zylman said.

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