MARIETTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — People in Marietta didn’t let a pandemic rain on their Veterans Day parade. Instead, they set up a patriotic route around Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. The last stop for the long line of cars was a church parking lot for a drive-in ceremony, saluting all veterans and servicemembers.

David Raper, a U.S. Marine veteran double Purple Heart recipient, remembers when he was wounded in Vietnam. “I took a bullet through this arm and a hand grenade through my right arm,” he said, describing his injuries. “I can honestly tell you that, that day, God said, ‘I’m gonna bring you through this.’”

The speakers shared messages of hope, faith and perseverance, bowing their heads in prayer for the country and for the future. “When people say freedom isn’t free, we have to reflect that,” said Dr. Samuel Lee, a chaplain and retired U.S. Army colonel. “God has given us a mission to pass the message of hope to the next generation, and I believe our veterans are the perfect witnesses to the next generation.”

Rapers said he was reminded this week of how veterans will pass the torch of Veterans Day traditions on to future generations. “Day before yesterday, I had a chance to be with some young boy scouts, and they all saluted,” said Raper. “I took a picture, and I said, ‘Those are future veterans.’”

They hope those future generations will always remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.