Willie and Kim Teepe brought their 9-year-old son, William, out to Virginia City Saturday to help him recognize the importance of the troops and remember their sacrifice.
Patty Smith came out adorned with the dog tags of her son Sgt. Timothy M. Smith, who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq in April 2008.
They, along with hundreds of others, lined the streets of the Nevada mining town-turned-time capsule for the annual Celebration of Heroes Memorial Day Parade, featuring displays from veteran's associations, electioneering by local officials and hope-to-be officials, and more. The more includes the dancing horses that drew wide-eyed excitement from 9-year-old Willie.
Memorial aside, the Reno-based Teepe family said they love the old-time feel of Virginia City and try to visit often. But this time, it was about more than that.
"It's about the troops," said Willie Teepe, wearing a USA shirt and red, white and blue beanie.
His wife echoed him.
"The whole troop thing is important, and letting (my son) know what's happening and who's fighting for us," Kim Teepe said.
Smith, whose son died at age 25 from an improvised explosive device, welcomed the support shown by folks like the Teepes and others in Northern Nevada, calling it "great" that people came out to show their support. Smith also wished more people would remember every day what's happening overseas.
"I wish everyday people would remember," she said. "I mean, there's still a war going on."
Smith was working with Brenda Bolander, the mother of another fallen soldier, to try to adorn every light pole on Virginia City's C Street with a memorial to the troops through the month of July. Bolander said she's been working since February on the project to honor the fallen, the active-duty and the veterans.
"Most people don't realize what the kids are doing over there, and they're coming back just an emotional wreck," said Bolander, whose son, Staff Sgt. Bryan E. Bolander, died in April 2008. "I want people to see these banners and thank someone who's fighting to save our country."