Veterans honored with parade through downtown
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Monday, November 12, 2012
11/12/12 at 1:08 PM
Vicki Jones was in her uniform and waiting for the train on a crowded subway platform when someone kept nudging her.
“I finally look at him, and he says ‘I just want to thank you for your service,’” said Jones, a retired major from the Oklahoma National Guard, about the first time someone thanked her. “I about bawled. When somebody says that to you, it brings up a lot of emotion.”
Monday morning was particularly emotional for her as thousands of people lined the streets of downtown Tulsa to thank her and all veterans for their service and sacrifice at the Tulsa Veterans Day Parade.
More than 100 floats, bands and dignitaries took part in the 94th annual parade, one of the largest Veterans Day parades in the country, organizers said.
Generations of families and hundreds of schoolchildren waved flags and held signs to say thank you to not only the veterans in the parade but those watch the parade along the route as well.
“And I love to look in their eyes, and I love to see the people waving and saluting,” Jones said. “It just brings tears to your eyes.”
Jones served as one of the parade’s honorees, along with Grand Marshal Jim Bridenstine, congressman-elect for District 1 and a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserves, and World War II veterans James Alspaugh and James Carl.
Jones signed up for the Guard in 1978 and was one of a handful of women and an even smaller group of American Indians to go to Officer Candidate School.
She said she signed up to straighten up and thought the military would help her grow. She ended up serving for more than 20 years, she said.
“I did not intend to be in it as a career,” she said.
Being doubly a minority as a woman and American Indian, Jones said Officer Candidate School and much of her career was an uphill battle, always working to prove to others and herself that she could do any job just as well as anyone else.
“I can’t say it’s all been easy. Nothing is always easy,” Jones said. “When you give a command, you expect people to obey your order. There were times that was tested.”
Vicki Jones, a retired major in the Oklahoma National guard, waves at parade-goers in the Tulsa Veteran's Day Parade, on Monday. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World