De­catur pa­rade hon­ors area vet­er­ans

Westside Eagle-Observer - - NEWS - By Mike Eck­els meck­els@nwadg.com

DE­CATUR — The peace and tran­quil­ity that De­catur res­i­dents en­joyed for much of the day were shat­tered on Satur­day by the sounds of sirens, but there was no emer­gency. The sirens marked the be­gin­ning of the sec­ond an­nual De­catur Vet­er­ans Day Pa­rade.

More than 100 De­catur area res­i­dents lined the pa­rade route from the De­catur De­pot to Vet­er­ans Park. Sev­eral po­lice and fire units from De­catur, Gen­try and the Ben­ton County Sher­iffs Of­fice — in­clud­ing the Ben­ton County Mo­bile Com­mand Post and the Ben­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice ar­mored res­cue truck — were scat­tered through­out the pa­rade.

Lead­ing the pa­rade was the honor guard from the Siloam Springs Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 29. Be­hind them were two floats car­ry­ing vet­er­ans from the HowardPar­rish chap­ter of the Vet­er­ans of For­eign Wars Post 9834 and Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 29. Each float was met with cheers of sup­port for the vet­er­ans on the floats and all who served in the na­tion’s mil­i­tary.

The sev­eral mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles in­cluded a mod­ern 2.5ton army truck, a Humvee used by the Gen­try Po­lice Depart­ment and an orig­i­nal 1919 Lib­erty B trans­port truck. The Lib­erty truck was built in the same year as the sign­ing of the first Armistice Day re­mem­brance now known as Vet­er­ans Day.

The De­catur Girl Scout troop, led by Mary Lou Janes, had the only other float in the pa­rade. The float was dec­o­rated with sev­eral draw­ings in honor of all vet­er­ans.

The Gen­try High School march­ing band pro­vided pa­tri­otic mu­sic for the pa­rade. This marked the first time that a Gen­try band has par­tic­i­pated in any De­catur pa­rade in more than five years.

Round­ing out the pa­rade was an as­sort­ment of civil­ian ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing a Volk­swa­gen van and truck, a van from De­catur First Bap­tist Church, and a host of area res­i­dents who wanted to re­mem­ber and honor fam­ily mem­bers who served in the mil­i­tary.

Af­ter the pa­rade, the De­catur Vet­er­ans Com­mit­tee hosted an honor cel­e­bra­tion at Vet­er­ans Park. In­cluded in this year’s pro­gram were Bethany Roberson read­ing her re­search pa­per on the ori­gins of the Vet­er­ans Day hol­i­day, Shel­don McKinzie recit­ing Red Skele­ton’s fa­mous “Pledge of Al­le­giance” skit, and pa­tri­otic mu­sic by the Gen­try and De­catur High School bands. The event ended with a hot dog give­away.

Spon­sor­ing this year’s event were the Arkansas Chap­ter 12 of Wood­menLife, Pepsi, the city of De­catur and the De­catur Fire Depart­ment.

Photo by Mike Eck­els

Mem­bers of the Howard-Par­rish chap­ter of the Vet­er­ans of For­eign Wars Post 9834 in De­catur were joined by fel­low mil­i­tary vet­er­ans to lead the De­catur Vet­er­ans Pa­rade through down­town De­catur on Nov. 4.

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