Sutters -- whose 11-year-old son, Nick, is in Troop 31 -- said veterans "do so much. [The parade is] a way of showing thank you for everything you've done."
At the end of the parade, the young Scouts stopped carrying the large American flag as the parade participants sat on the steps at Haddad Riverfront Park for the Veterans Day program.
More than 200 people of all ages -- many waving miniature American flags -- listened as guest speaker Cmdr. Adam D. Palmer, commanding officer of the ballistic missile submarine USS West Virginia, spoke.
Palmer started his speech by referencing superstorm Sandy.
"The submarine forces are not running away from the storm," he said, "they're the guys running into it."
Then he offered the crowd some humor about the positives of the U.S. Navy.
"You don't have to pay a lot of money for a haircut -- they are free of charge on the ship," Palmer said.
Being on the submarine provides a lifetime of alertness, too, he said.
Palmer said he can't walk into a Walmart anymore without hearing every single piece of information that comes over the loudspeaker -- because he has been trained to listen whenever a siren sounds.
"I don't miss any of those sales," Palmer joked.
The best part about the Navy, he said, is "understanding the contributions the Navy has made."
He told the audience about how rampant piracy used to be and how those in the military can work together, considering each other's prejudices and failures. He said the military is "the best system. We're about peace, prosperity, democracy and opportunity."
The sub skipper thanked the assembled West Virginians for inviting him and his crew to the celebration, and then added a comment most veterans probably also believe.
"We talk about Veterans Day being a day we honor veterans but, for me, it's more about the honor to serve than the need to be honored," Palmer said. "I am proud to support and defend the Constitution. I take that obligation freely."
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.