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Tom Uppstad of Albany wore his U.S. Air Force uniform from his service days in 1967-71 to the 2018 Linn County Veterans Day Parade.

He wore it proudly, he said, in part because he remembers a time when he couldn't.

When Uppstad was in the service, Vietnam was raging. And so were the protesters back home, some of whom took out their fears and frustrations on men and women like Uppstad.

"I remember not being able to wear a uniform. That's just the way it was," he said. "You'd just be a marked man if you wore a uniform."

That's one of the reasons Uppstad likes coming each year to the parade. Here, he said, people who see his uniform salute, shake his hand and thank him for his service.

"Veterans are getting the respect now they richly deserve," he said. 

The 2018 Linn County Veterans Day Parade is marking the 100th anniversary this year of the end of World War I. But the annual event, known as the largest Veterans Day parade West of the Mississippi, has always been about honoring all veterans from all branches of the service.

Held Saturday because Veterans Day falls on a Sunday this year, the parade brought out more than 200 entries, from Scouts to Shriners to service organizations.

Uppstad wasn't the only spectator to come in uniform. Al McCann of Millersburg, who served in the Air Force in Korea, Japan and Vietnam, proudly wore his uniform from his days as a chief master sergeant. 

With him on the sidelines was his former wife, Deberra Trowbridge, who wore the World War II uniform that used to belong to her father, Harold Farr. 

Farr was shot down in Germany, but made it home and fathered seven children. "I was number six," Trowbridge said with a smile. 

She kept the uniform — "It was important to me," she said — and all the telegraphs sent to her mother about him missing in action. Wearing the uniform makes her think of her father, she said, and shows honor to all those who serve.

"I think it's wonderful, what they're doing for our veterans," she said of the parade. 

Ron Hall of Albany, who served with the Army in in Korea, said he wore a ballcap from his service days to honor everyone who will come after him as well as everyone who came before. 

Darren Evans of Albany, who served in the Navy in the Gulf War, wore a cap, too. His bore the words "Native Veteran," which honors his legacy as a descendant of the Lakota chief, Sitting Bull. And, he added, he also honors his great-grandfather, a mapmaker and Pony Express rider who was in the Army during World War I and served in France.

Sitting Bull's people didn't get treated well by the people who served in the U.S. armed forces at the time, Evans acknowledged. However, he added: "That was back then. I'm proud to be a Native American, and an American."

Sometimes, the emblems of military service aren't so obvious. Yvonne Fasold of Eugene rode in the parade with representatives of the American Rosie the Riveter Association and said she ran into many people who didn't recognize the traditional "Rosie" polka-dot bandanna wrapped around her hair.

Rosies helped win the war by doing the jobs the men had to leave behind, Fasold explained. She herself is a "Rosebud" — the daughter of a Rosie — but she rode in the parade with two actual Rosies: Nita Eggers of Albany, a welder and riveter for Boeing in 1944-45, and Margaret Denison of Corvallis, who worked for the Springfield, Massachusetts, Armory about the same time. 

"We were the ones who started women's independence, because 'we could do it,'" Eggers explained.

Added Fasold: "These women are over 90 and helped win World War II." 

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