Herman Todeschi has seen more than his fair share of war - fighting up the bootleg of Italy, then southern France, the Balkans and eventually along the Rhine River in Germany itself during World War II.
But on Veterans Day 2018, after serving as one of four grand marshals at Durango's 2018 Veterans Day Parade, he said he is most thankful that the country in recent years has been giving Vietnam Veterans the respect they deserve.
"When I went to war, the country was absolutely very patriotic. Everybody sacrificed and everyone understood what was happening," he said. "In Vietnam, it was different. I'm glad to see they are being recognized like they should be. They didn't get a good homecoming. They deserved better."
Todeschi said when he returned to the United States after his service, he remembers being welcomed wherever he went, and for soldiers and sailors who were returning, it was hard to buy a beer at saloons across the country.
"We were greeted with open arms," he said. "The way Vietnam vets were treated, that made all of us feel bad, but I think we have turned that around."
Todeschi, who grew up in Durango and Silverton and settled working in the Sunnyside Gold Mine after the war, remembers his homecoming back in Durango.
"The train whistles were blowing. There was a party. It turned out I got home on the day when the war with Japan ended. It was quite a homecoming," he said.
Several hundred spectators attended the 2018 Veterans Parade on Main Avenue in downtown Durango on Sunday. Along with Todeschi, three other veterans from World War II served as grand marshals, Clayton Novotney, who served as a machine mate on the USS Yorktown in the Pacific Theater; Vernon Pound, who served as a Navy corpsman in the Normandy invasion; and Wayne McGee, who served as a Navy radioman in the Marshal Islands, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
The scope of World War II seems huge today, and Pound's experience proves the point.
His mission was to deal with the potential for a defeat at Normandy. He was part of a special unit called Foxy 29; its mission was to save as many soldiers as possible if the invasion failed and the Germans were able to push the invaders off the beaches.
In the end, his experience differed greatly from his training for the mission.
Speaking of memories of battles, Pound said: "You just don't pay it much attention. You'd go nutty if you did. You don't forget it either, but you just don't dwell on it."
Pound said he sometimes wonders if people remember the sacrifices his generation endured during World War II.
"I don't know (if they remember). I do wonder. Everything today has no discipline and moves fast, and so I do wonder."