OGDEN -- It may be that Bill Allen, 81, was the youngest World War II vet in Saturday's Veterans Day parade, because he was almost certainly the youngest of every-one there when he enlisted in 1942 at the ripe old age of 14.
How did he do it? "I lied," he said.
"And he signed his mother's name," said his wife, Geri.
That's how Allen ended up wading ashore at Normandy and fighting in the Battle of the Bulge as a 16-year-old.
He joined the infantry because "I didn't know any better to ask for anything else. I was stupid."
But he was running away from bullying older brothers and other troubles at home, so felt the trade-off was worth it.
Allen went through five major battles in World War II, including the Battle of the Bulge, with the 9th Infantry Division.
He went on to be Utah Commander of the Underage Veterans of Military Service, a group of soldiers like him who lied to get in.
His story was one of more than 130 on display Saturday at this year Veterans Day Parade through downtown Ogden.
World War II ended 64 years ago. Its veterans are almost all in their 80s and 90s, and dying at the rate of 1,500 a day nationwide. Ogden VFW Post 1481, which revived the Veterans Day Parade in Ogden in 2006, decided to honor World War II veterans by making them grand marshals.
About 70 units, from military vehicles to marching bands and even a troop of Civil War-era cavalry re-enactors, traveled the parade route from 20th Street and Washington Boulevard to Lindquist Field.
At Lindquist Field each branch of the service was honored and four new recruits were sworn in the U.S. Army.
Several thousand people lined the parade route, waving flags, clapping, or holding up signs that said "Thank you." One woman was overheard saying "I just wanna clap for everybody."
Bill Carnahan, of Hunstville, waved a large sign that said "Thank you for our freedom. We honor you."
It was partially for his own father, a World War II veteran who lives in Las Vegas, but "all these guys too."
A few veterans walked, most rode, accompanied by wives, children and grandchildren. Many wore uniforms that still fit after six decades.
Probably the oldest was William Phillips, 96. As his children and grandchildren carefully helped Phillips onto a float, his grandson, Bill Hall, talked about his career.
Hall said his grandfather was 27 when the war started and he drove to Salt Lake City from Pocatello to sign up.
"He started as a buck private, but they needed officers so he applied for officer candidate school," Hall said.
Phillips was made a lieutenant, then put in charge of a unit of African-American soldiers, who served in segregated units with white officers during the war.
"The most interesting story we have is he was going across the south and they had meal vouchers that they took to restaurants, but nobody would serve his troops," Hall said. "So he told his junior officers and non-commissioned officers that nobody was going to eat."
Herb Barker, 85, served in the Pacific as a sonarman on a submarine chaser that was so small it didn't have a name, just a number, SC-727.
"They called us the splinter fleet because we were the smallest ships in the Navy and made all out of wood," he said.
When the war started and the Navy had to expand, steel was in short supply. It built a fleet of wooden ships to serve as submarine chasers. The size of his boat saved Barker's life.
"We were escorting a convoy off Saipan and got torpedoed by a fighter-bomber," he said, "but our draft was too shallow. It went right under my feet. I never knew what happened to the plane. I thought I was a goner."
The ships were emblematic of the whole effort, he said. "They sent a bunch of 18- and 19-year-olds to do a job, and we got it done."
Members of VFW Post 1481 never got a firm count of how many veterans they were honoring. Many didn't call ahead, they just showed up. All were welcome.
One was even reluctant.
Lloyd King, 87, was sitting on a folding chair on the sidewalk near the intersection of Washington and 23rd Street when a member of the VFW post, walking the parade route, noticed King was wearing a garrison cap that said he was a U.S. Marine.
The officer stopped a passing float and invited King to hop on.
King was reclutant.
King's daughter, Gale Livingston, said King fought through the Pacific and deserved the honor as much as anyone, but was stubborn. The family had tried for several days to get King to be in the parade.
"We kept saying 'Dad, you need to ride on that float,' but he would only sit off to the side and watch.
"He kept saying 'This is what I want to do,' " she said.
But with urging of the VFW officer, and his family, King slowly walked over and allowed himself to be half-lifted onto the float.
He took his seat on a hay bale, the float pulled away, the crowd applauded and his face broke into a big grin.