Vietnam War POW will lead parade
Retired colonel has helped with the event since its 1998 inception
The Dallas Veterans Day Parade on Monday will honor Vietnam War POW Ken Cordier, who spent over six years imprisoned at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”
The grand marshal of Dallas’ Veterans Day Parade will never forget his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam or how long he was imprisoned at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”
“Six years, three months and two days,” retired Air Force Col. Ken Cordier said.
Cordier spent 24 years in the military before retiring. Of all his memories, from dropping bombs to flying solo, he said his release from the POW camp was the most exciting.
On Monday, the Dallas Veterans Day Parade will honor Cordier as its grand marshal, recognizing him for his years of military service and decades of involvement in the parade.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be grand marshal,” the Dallas resident said, joking that he wouldn’t have to guide the flyover from the sidelines. “I’ll be saluting units as they march by.”
At 81, Cordier is the same age fellow POW John Mccain was when the senator from Arizona died of complications from brain cancer. Both men spent years in the POW camp.
But the colonel doesn’t focus on deaths; instead he emphasizes how many in his cohort are alive and well. He knows exactly how many POWS released when he was are alive: 430 of 591.
The position of grand marshal is primarily symbolic, though Cordier has plenty of experience being hands-on with the parade. He’s been involved in organizing the event since its inception in 1998.
“Ken has been with the parade from the very start,” parade operator Doug Gagliano said. “He deserves a grand civic award for that, but he’s also a great person, and if anyone deserves to be grand marshal it’s him.”
The parade will begin at 11 a.m. Monday at the former Reunion Arena site and will end at City Hall.
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Ken Cordier, a former POW of the Vietnam War, will serve as this year’s Veterans Day parade grand marshal.