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Ed Pennington was watching the 2012 Colorfest parade when he noticed a glaring omission that really struck him.
“They didn’t have a color guard leading the parade,” said the former Marine from Louisiana. “I could remember color guards leading parades back in the ‘40s and seeing Spanish American War, World War I and World War II veterans in them.
“I thought, I’ll carry the colors if I have to do it myself, so I formed a color guard.”
The Military Veterans Color Guard marched at this year’s Colorfest and the Louisiana High School Parade the night before.
The guard bearing American and Armed Forces flags had already marched in the Parks Days parade in Frankford, the Heritage Days parade in Bowling Green and the Applefest parade in Clarksville.
The guard will also be on hand at the Louisiana Middle School’s salute to veterans on Monday, Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day.
The Louisiana American Legion Apple Corps group that used to lead area parades will also be there to present the colors.
The Apple Corps was a full-fledged drill team that won competitions during their years together.
“They were starting to have physical limitations and all of them couldn’t march anymore,” Pennington said.
“I went to the Legion with my idea and was told to pursue it.”
Pennington started recruiting and formed the color guard in June. Unlike the Apple Corps, “we are simply a color guard,” he said.
Six of the seven members are from Louisiana and include Police Chief Rich Hughes, an Air Force veteran. Don Morton is also an Air Force veteran.
Matt Magee of Eolia was a member of the U.S. Navy, as was Jim Stribling, the youngest veteran in the group.
Pennington is the sole U.S. Marine veteran. Clark Pointer was in the U.S. Army and Bob Ringhausen was in the Army National Guard.
All of the members wear uniforms of their period of service that they provide themselves.
“We want to keep it local and not expand outside of Pike County,” Pennington said. He expects the group will lead the county’s parades in 2014.
“I think it’s important to continue the tradition,” Pennington said.
Anyone who wants to join the color guard must be a military veteran and be able to march three miles with a flag or rifle, Pennington said.
They must wear a uniform or another official style of dress from their era. Anyone interested can call Pennington at 573-754-4952.