RALEIGH — For Raleigh’s Veterans Day parade, Charles Bullock sent five 5-ton trucks from his personal fleet rolling down Fayetteville Street, along with a Jeep.
His personal collection of military vehicles totals 37 — Humvees, deuce-and-a-halves, a Blazer — and he would have supplied all of them for the parade if only he had enough drivers.
“I didn’t buy them to go mudslinging,” said Bullock, who owns a wrecker service in Knightdale. “Anything to put forth a good image of the military and the men who served.”
Saturday’s parade stretched the length of Fayetteville Street downtown and wrapped around the Capitol, drawing what many described as a thin crowd thanks to competition from Fayetteville, where the parade featured cast members from the TV show M*A*S*H.
But the gathering, though small, stood hushed for the wreath laying at the veterans’ monument beneath the Capitol dome, where Anne Capucille spoke of the celebration that used to be called Armistice Day.
Nearly 94, Capucille served in the Woman’s Army Corps, or WACs, in World War II. The day anyone joins the service, she said, is the day he or she becomes a hero.
“Hero is the only word that can be used,” she said. “The private. The baker. The cooks. The MPs who work out in traffic. No matter who you are, you are there. You do what you’re told. You do what you need to do.”
You could judge the diversity of military service by the hats worn along the parade route: Korea veteran, Vietnam veteran, U.S. submarine veteran. The uniforms varied from kilts to fatigues to the fringed hunter’s smock worn by militia men in the Revolutionary War.
Hollis Posey of Cary donned this outfit alone with a feathered hat, powder horn, haversack and patch knife, having recently joined the Sons of the American Revolution. He traced his ancestry back to Capt. Henry Felder of South Carolina, a grandfather with five greats in front of it.
“This is all the water protection you get,” he said, motioning to his jacket’s fringe.
From Cub Scout pack 10 to the Enloe High School marching band to the Combat Vets Association riding Harley Davidsons, the parade formed a line that lasted 30 minutes.
“Everyone here is a hero,” Capucille said. “You are supporting those who came. You are supporting those who gave. You are supporting those who would have given if they had been asked to.”
Afterward on the Capitol grounds, Bullock wished he could have had more of his convoy on display.
Why did you collect them? a friend asked.
“Stupidity,” he joked.
Are you going to buy more? Why?
“Stupidity,” he said again.
It’s a brand of stupidity that makes for a good parade.