O’Fallon City Fest Parade
Updated 8/31/23 – I was contacted by Roger Van Etten who shared a few photos and a quick video of the float and also shared the fact that he created the float in honor of his father all all who served over there as they were not treated well when they returned.
The recent O’Fallon City Fest parade brought together the community in a celebration filled with joy and memorable moments. Among the vibrant displays and cheerful participants, it was the heartfelt contributions of the O’Fallon Police and Fire Departments that ensured the safety of the event. While the parade was a spectacle of various talents and passions, it was a particular float that left a lasting impression on me — the Veterans float commemorating the Man at the Wall.
As the parade unfolded, my attention was captivated by a float that stood out among the crowd. While I wasn’t able to capture the moment with my own camera, a news recording offered a glimpse of the poignant scene. The float depicted a scene that many of us are familiar with: a lone figure standing before a wall, a poignant representation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
However, this float went beyond the traditional portrayal. Behind the wall, a scene unfolded that depicted a group of individuals adorned in camouflage uniforms, clutching M-16 rifles, surrounded by a simulated jungle environment. The visual impact of this portrayal brought the painting to life in an entirely new way. It was a testament to the skill and dedication of those who organized the float, and it highlighted the commitment of our veterans who have served their country in times of conflict.
For me, the experience was profoundly moving. While I’ve encountered the famous painting in various forms over the years, seeing this tableau with real individuals created a profound impression. The depiction of the Man at the Wall was no longer confined to a canvas or an image on a screen; it was now embodied by living individuals who have sacrificed for their nation. This portrayal transformed a thought-provoking picture into a deeply emotional encounter, and its impact stayed with me long after the parade had ended.
The O’Fallon City Fest parade was indeed a wonderful occasion filled with joy and community spirit. Amidst the excitement, it was the Veterans float that stood out as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by those who have served in the armed forces. This unique depiction of the Man at the Wall touched the hearts of many, including myself, and serves as a testament to the power of art and community in creating lasting memories and sparking meaningful conversations. If anyone has a better photograph of the float from the parade, I’m eager to update this post and continue sharing this impactful experience with others.
Image taken from the Channel 5 news recording – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qrz8dgmZII
Images and video from Roger Van Etten