Local veteran groups will hold what is believed to be the first ever Veterans Day parade in conjunction with its annual ceremony to honor veterans.
The event will be held on Saturday, Nov.9. The parade will lineup at 9 a.m., begin at 10 a.m. The customary ceremony will be at noon, with a music program to follow. The parade route is the same as the Christmas parade and the ceremony will be on the square.
“There’s a hunger for people to show their patriotism,” VFW Commander Kimberly King. “We’re giving everyone to do that. If your father or brother was in the service, and you want to put in a float for dad, go for it.”
VFW parade organiser Fred Kasper said on Thursday that the parade will be held rain or shine unless their is a downpour.
Entry to the parade is free, but registration is required Organizers will offer a lot of leeway on the content of the parade, but ask that all floats have a connection to veterans or patriotism. Political or controversial themes will not be allowed in the parade.
Participants may walk, ride in a vehicle or on a float. You may dedicate the car, float or vehicle to a veteran, organization or group.
The Grand Marshall for the parade will be Edward Reader, a World War II Army Air Corps Veteran. Reader’s B-17 Flying Fortress bomber was shot down and subsequently he was held as a Prisoner of War by the Germans in Romania following a bombing raid on the oil refineries at Ploiesti.
Early in the planning, King said that over 50 groups had registered.
Immediately following the parade, the Veterans Day Ceremony on the Square will begin about noon. Lloyd Smith and Cyndi Clower will be there to sing a selection of patriotic songs as well as the Manchester Arts Choir students and East Coffee Elementary students.
“We really feel responsible to educate people and honor veterans,” King said. “If we didn’t do this who would?”
Following the ceremony at about 1 p.m., the band, The Clower Family Band will play a selection of songs from the 1960s and 70s. The band consists of band director, Ronald Clower, U.S. Air Force and VFW Post 10904 Auxiliary member, Gary Clower on the bass, Gary Kiviniemi, Army National Guard on the drums and Cyndi Clower, singer and VFW Post 10904 Auxiliary member, along with Travis Clower on guitar.
Registration for the parade must be received by Nov. 1. Registration forms are available at www.vfw10904.com.