Janice Yee hugged her dad's leg against the blast of the cannon that started the parade.
The 3-year-old, dressed in traditional Hmong regalia, appeared unfazed Monday even though she was just across the street from the smoking cannon. Under the watchful eye of her father Vang Yee, the little girl waved to the first grand marshal to roll down the street during Crescent City's Veterans Day Parade.
The grand marshals included Sua Phia Lo, a captain in the Hmong Army. Other Hmong veterans, including Janice's grandfather as well as her sisters, marched in traditional dress with the Hmong Veterans of America, Inc. Vang Yee said his father helped the CIA during the Vietnam War.
"I'm in the service myself," said Vang Yee. "You appreciate the people for serving their country. It doesn't matter which country they're from. If they were helping the U.S., they were working together."
Yee, who moved his family back to the Crescent City area recently, graduated from Del Norte High School in 1993 and joined the U.S. Army. He is currently a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and serves in the Air National Guard.
"I go down to Fresno one weekend a month," he said.
Parade-goers broke out in applause and shouted "thank you" to the veterans who marched and rode down the street. The parade's grand marshals included five World War II veterans and Lo, who commanded a guerrilla unit of the Hmong Army in 1966 and was a refugee in the 1990s.
Many families arrived on H Street early, hoping to get a good spot. Rejeana Geissert brought her five nieces and nephews out to honor their uncle, who is a Marine.
"We're here to show our support for the veterans," she said. "It's a day to celebrate."
Bridget Woods came to the parade with her 8-year-old daughter Mia, who held a stack of thank you cards she and her peers in the Kid's First Program at Pine Grove Elementary School made.
"(They say) 'Dear veterans, thank you for helping us,'" Mia said.
Mia's dad is a veteran who served in the Army for about 10 years before retiring, Bridget Woods said.
"He went to Iraq for a year and a half and then he got out," she said, telling Mia that Veterans Day is "a day to honor your dad."
Reach Jessica Cejnar at firstname.lastname@example.org.