Nasty weather led organizers to cancel this year's Greater Dallas Veterans Day Parade on Monday.
In years past, people lined the streets for the annual event. It’s the largest parade of its kind in North Texas. On Monday morning, the crowd instead gathered inside Dallas City Hall for a more intimate ceremony.
This year was the first time in the parade's 20-year history that it's been canceled. Organizers say the decision came down to safety.
But despite the washout, the city still found a way to honor its veterans and those who lived through the two world wars.
McKinney resident David Huntley was just 8 years old when bombs destroyed part of the country he once called home. Huntley was living in London during World War II. He spent countless nights hiding underneath a makeshift bomb shelter.
“It was built with a very thick steel on top,” he explained. “At night, we would sleep there. It would protect us if the house collapsed from a bomb.”
Huntley's future wife was under Nazi occupation in France.
Huntley sat front row at the scaled-down Greater Dallas Veterans Day event.
The annual parade was canceled due to the wet and cold weather. More than 100 military and veteran organizations from the area were ready to participate. Instead, some of them sat in the audience to listen to the grand marshal share his story.
Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Ken Cordier of Dallas is a Vietnam war veteran. He was flying over southeast Asia when he was shot down on December 2, 1966. He was captured and detained as a prisoner of war and held captive for six years.
“It's an incredible change of state because one minute you're a hot shot 29-year-old fighter pilot. Master of the universe,” Cordier said. “And minutes later, you’re captured and taken off to Hanoi to prison.”
U.S. Air Force Reservist Nick Longo brought his 2-year-old son, AJ, to the ceremony.
“It's definitely important for him to know that there are people fighting for him all the time even if I don't feel like I am anymore,” Longo said.
Cordier says he's waited 20 years to be the grand marshal. And while he's disappointed it didn't happen, he's very grateful the city found a way to commemorate Veterans Day even if it meant holding a smaller ceremony inside.