• Last modified 6405 days ago (Dec. 7, 2006)
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Cliff Savage marches in Memorial Day parade

Retired pastor Arnold Taylor, veteran of the 99th living in Washington, D.C., sends along a couple of newspaper articles about Cliff Savage M/393, of Olive Branch MS, who represented the 99th by carrying Old Glory in the National Memorial Day Parade in the nation's capital.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal ran the article, along with a photo of Cliff in his fatigues and service medals. Unfortunately pre-screened newspaper photos can't be copied for the Checkerboard.

Now 86, Sgt. Savage was captured during the Bulge and marched three weeks across Germany to the POW camp. During his interment he lost 60 pounds.

Unlike the march as a prisoner, the march in Washington was surrounded by children, cameras, and grateful Americans.

More than 3,000 people participated in the parade, they carried banners, rode on floats, and the blue and white Checkerboard flag was honored.

They marched from the Capitol to the White House on Constitution Avenue, a distance of 1.3 miles.

His daughter, Rhonda Sparks, 46, the youngest of five living children, never doubted that he'd make it, "He's a tough old bird."

Savage said "It's really neat to march down the street and hear people cheering and saying 'thank you'." He called it "gratifying."

He was shown on TV holding the American Flag. When asked how he got the job of carrying the colors, Savage replied, "I was the only one able. In our group of 25 only six of us could walk the entire distance."

He hopes to march again this coming Memorial Day and invites other 99'ers to join him.