Thousands of veterans were honored Saturday afternoon at the 21st annual Veterans Day Parade in Palm Springs.
Ronnie Imel and Don Simpson front and center Saturday. The two guests of Congressman Raul Ruiz, riding up Palm Canyon being thanked for their service.
“It”s humbling to me and it makes me proud that I did serve. It makes me glad. Even though we had the hardships and things happened to us. But, I am glad I did serve and I am happy for that moment. Every time we have one of these now it’s like a welcome home we never had,” said Simpson.
The streets lined with people all coming out to show respect for those who serve.
“Your mother told you you should respect veterans and say hello and thank them for your service. And it’s good as long as its heartfelt,” Imel said.
Congressman Raul Ruiz says both men exemplify excellence.
“They both deserve recognition. So they’re riding in my car to honor them and their service,” Ruiz said.
With the help of the congressman, Simpson was recently honored with a silver star for valor in combat.
“Getting this thing 50 years later, I was really humbled and honored that that happened. And it’s really the welcome home that us Vietnam veterans never got. I wish all of my friends could be there with me,” Simpson said.
Imel said more attention needs to be paid to veterans, not just on Veterans Day.
“They’re constantly cutting programs and saying they’re gonna help us, they’re going to help us, but they do just the opposite,” Imel said.
Ruiz fighting to give veterans the respect they deserve.
“Everyday, whenever we see a veteran, we should always pause and thank them. Ask them for their name. Introduce yourself and make sure our children see parents thank our veterans and explain to the children why we’re thanking our veterans. Because they sacrificed to serve our nation to give us the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy,” Ruiz said.