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Veterans Day celebrated in Virginia City

F.T. Norton

With Fallon Naval Air Station fighter jets roaring over head and the bells of St. Mary’s tolling, the 2001 Veterans Day Parade in Virginia City kicked off to applause on Sunday.

Forty-four entries strolled down a rain-misted C Street as hundreds of onlookers applauded the military entries proudly flying Old Glory.

For the first time, the commander of the nuclear submarine, the USS Nevada, was on hand to start the parade. Native Las Vegan, Cmdr. Walt Luthiger, was accompanied by five of his sub crew members from their port in Bangor, Washington.

Luthiger, who has commanded the submarine since 1999, said he was thrilled to participate in the parade.

“This was the main reason we came up.”

While in the area he and the chief of the boat, a junior officer and three sailors, talked with junior Reserve Officer Training Corps recruits and enjoyed a night at the Marine Corps Ball celebrating the Marine Corps’ 226th birthday.

Luthiger rode in the first vehicle to roll down Main Street and, said afterward, he walked back up the boardwalk to enjoy the rest of the parade.

“This was great,” he said smiling.

By next year, Luthiger will no longer command the Nevada but hopes whoever follows will participate in next year’s event.

“I am going to talk it up to my relief,” he said laughing. “This is the place to be.”

For 50 minutes, entries tossed candy at the tiniest of onlookers while others handed out small American flags. Following the parade, participants were treated to a free spaghetti feast at the Storey County Senior Citizen’s Center.

“This is to thank everyone,” said parade organizer Lorraine Du Fresne.

The parade is in its 16th year.