He moved slowly, with the stiffness of age and a single-mindedness of purpose. His cane kept a syncopated rhythm with his steps down the concrete Palmetto sidewalk. His shoes, buffed to a sheen, matched his neat but casual attire. John Thomas Sr. was going to a parade.
Blocks away, bands were lining up, flags were unfurling and road blocks were set.
A Palmetto police car pulled up and an officer leaned out to say: "The parade is starting on 13th this year."
Two blocks farther than he had anticipated, Thomas just smiled and tipped his hat, cane and shiny shoes moving with certainty.
Back at the starting point for the annual homage to local veterans, a color guard came into view far down the street as Thomas slowly made his way to his destination.
When the color guard finally arrived at the corner, Thomas was there.
The U.S. Marine Corps veteran, who served from 1945-1955, watched as his USMC brothers marched silently with the flag.
His cane still for a moment, Thomas stood tall.