ST. CHARLES – Jake Wyatt teared up as he marched in Monday's Memorial Day parade, struck by the support from St. Charles residents lined up along downtown streets, paying respects to veterans.
Wyatt, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam and Gulf wars, also graduated from St. Charles High School in 1967. During Wyatt's time in the service, he served under General Norman Schwarzkopf.
He was just one of many veterans who marched in the parade, waving to residents waving American flags and applauding their service.
Following the parade, Wyatt spoke at a memorial ceremony near the Freedom Shrine. He said he was moved by everyone in attendance during the parade.
Wyatt said Memorial Day is about giving support not only to those who have lost their lives serving their country, but also respecting those who return home after war.
Before the parade, Wyatt spoke with fellow members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legions posts in St. Charles. They spoke of those who protest the war in Iraq.
They represent the point of serving the country in the first place, Wyatt said.
"That's what we're fighting for," he said. "When you go into the service, you live your life to defend the Constitution of the United States."
To see a photo slideshow of Memorial Day events across the area, please click here.