County’s veterans to be honored with parade

For the first time in recent memory, Huntington County veterans will be honored with a parade.

The parade, set to roll through Huntington on Saturday, Nov. 9 - two days prior to the national observance of Veterans Day - is being held in place of the formal programs and dinners of past years, says Bruce Stanton, Huntington County Veterans Service Officer.

The hope, Stanton says, is that more veterans will take part and that the community will get more involved in honoring its veterans.

In past years, Veterans Day events were put on by veterans and attended mostly by veterans. And interest in the formal programs has dwindled as the number of older veterans dwindles, Stanton says.

"The ones that really enjoyed that were the older ones," Stanton says. "The younger ones just don't dig those kinds of formal programs."

A Veterans Day chili supper was held for the past couple of years, but even that didn't draw the kind of interest Stanton had hoped for.

When veterans' groups asked for ideas for future Veterans Day observances, the idea for a parade came forward.

"This is our way of thanking our veterans," Stanton says.
Businesses, churches, assisted living facilities and community groups are being asked to put their
veterans and active service members on a float, a truck, a car or other conveyance and drive them in the parade.

Retired veterans who are not a member of any church or organization can call the Veterans Service Office, 358-4863, to be placed on a parade vehicle.

"Outside of color guards, everybody's going to be riding on something," Stanton says. "The whole thing is simply to get as many veterans as we can on parade."

Approximately 3,000 veterans live in Huntington County, he says.

Anyone who wants to have an entry in the parade is asked to call the Veterans Service Office. Steve Kimmel, executive director of the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce, is contacting businesses to invite them to participate in the parade.

Businesses are also being asked to make "some sort of gesture of recognition to veterans" that weekend, Stanton says - maybe a free cup of coffee or some other perk.

The parade will start at 10 a.m., leaving Huntington North High School and heading to the Huntington County Courthouse, where military and emergency vehicles will be lined up on display. A brief ceremony to honor fallen veterans will be held at the veterans' memorial on the courthouse lawn.

Following the ceremony, American Legion Post 85, located on South Jefferson Street in Huntington, will serve a free lunch, open to veterans only, from noon to 3 p.m.

Financial support for the parade is being provided by the Huntington County Veterans Council, the Veterans Service Office using funds allocated by Huntington County, and matching funds from the city of Huntington.