The small town of Corvallis rarely has a traffic jam. Memorial Day is always an exception.
For 92 years, Memorial Day festivities have brought veterans and the community of Corvallis together. The parade has grown massively through the years, and people come from all over to see it.
Vets from all wars and conflicts are honored. But this year the parade is especially welcoming home heroes from Operation Iraqi Freedom.
If you were late you'd have a hard time squeezing into a space on Main Street. It was cheek to jowl with people.
"It's fantastic," said parade goer, Lorena Erickson. "It's always great."
If you haven't seen anybody for awhile. it's a good place to be. "We visit," said Lee Erickson," and of course, it's fun to watch the parade."
Every float, every tractor, every horseback rider is here to say thank you to the men and women in uniform.
"It's really awe inspiring," said Iraq veteran Jessica Dickson."It really touches you deep down inside." She said this is the first time she's really felt appreciated for her service.
"Having people shoot at you," said Dickson, "isn't a good experience." But she's proud of the work she did in Iraq. "Building schools and hospitals,"said the veteran. "We basically liberated them."
Tyler Helgeson said the parade is "amazing." Helgeson isn't just an Iraqi Freedom vet. He fought in Afghanistan too and despite his youth, can actually compare the differences between wars that he was in.
"Iraq was a little bit different," he said," cause it was mostly I.E.D's (improvised explosive devices) everywhere. But Afghanistan we had I.E.D's and then you'd get small arms fire and ambushes."
Here in this community of Corvallis, where old time rancher and farmer Bum Lairy remembers the parade as far back as the 1930's, and World War II shipyard worker Frances Curdy fires up her old Ferguson tractor to drive in the parade, and Margaret Mason's lovely smile can make anybody feel better, the annual Memorial Day Parade's theme is simple. 'Welcome Home Veterans.'