Traverse City Area Veterans Honored for Hometown Heroes Veterans Tour

It’s a special day thanking the brave men and women who served out country.

More than 100 veterans traveled around Traverse City Tuesday for the first Hometown Heroes Veterans Appreciation tour.

9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson followed their journey and have more on what made it so meaningful.

A police escort led four buses, full of local veterans, around Traverse City Tuesday.

“Boy are we a noisy bunch!”

It was the community’s way of honoring the service and sacrifices of our hometown heroes, and thanking veterans like 91-year-old Richard Rizzio.

“Being able to do this as a group, where everybody can get around and see what’s going on, it’s just making a beautiful day,” says Richard Rizzio, WWII Veteran.

With stops at the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Memorial Park, local monuments, memorials, and the Coast Guard Air Station, the group was able to see how Traverse City appreciates their service.

“The patriotism that the community shows. It’s just unreal. It’s not just today, but it’s year round,” says Calvin Murphy, Vietnam Veteran. “Being a veteran of the Vietnam War, where we were treated so badly coming home, to see the last several years how the Grand Traverse and surrounding counties treat us now, I’m finally glad to say I’m proud to be a veteran and of Vietnam.”

But the day also paid tribute to the fallen soldiers that our country lost along the way.

“We remember those we left behind. I’ve lost quite a few of my buddies here. Our Battle of the Bulge group had 20-some members in it a few years ago. We’re down to three,” Rizzio says. “There’s a lot of good memories, there’s a lot of bad ones, but we try to remember the good ones.”

And for some veterans, it was also their chance to thank the ones who served before them.

“Those are my role models. I believe I’m the man today that I am because of them,” Murphy says.

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