Con­gress­man Wo­mack helps ded­i­cate tree dur­ing De­catur Vet­er­ans Day cel­e­bra­tion

Westside Eagle-Observer - - FRONT PAGE - MIKE ECKELS meck­els@nwadg.com

DE­CATUR — On Sun­day, Nov. 11, this na­tion will com­mem­o­rate the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of World War I and the be­gin­ning of Vet­er­ans Day. The city of De­catur and the De­catur Vet­er­ans Com­mit­tee be­gan its cel­e­bra­tion a week early with the fourth an­nual Vet­er­ans Day Pa­rade through down­town De­catur and a cer­e­mony at Vet­er­ans Park in De­catur on Satur­day.

The pa­rade be­gan at 3 p.m. from the car wash park­ing lot on Third and Main Streets in De­catur. From there it made its way down­town to Vet­er­ans Park.

Lead­ing the pa­rade was the De­catur High School march­ing band un­der the di­rec­tion of drum ma­jor Lauro Molina. Fol­low­ing the band was a float car­ry­ing vet­er­ans from De­catur, Gravette, Gen­try and the sur­round­ing area. They were fol­lowed by a sec­ond float con­tain­ing mem­bers of De­catur’s Howard-Par­rish Chap­ter of the Vet­er­ans of For­eign Wars, Post 9834.

U.S. Con­gress­man Steve Wo­mack, the event’s hon­orary guest, drove a vin­tage Viet­nam area M151A1 jeep in the pa­rade. He and a few of his staff mem­bers handed out sun­glasses and candy to each of the 100-plus spec­ta­tors gath­ered along the route.

Six­teen mo­tor­cy­cles and trikes, fol­lowed by four vin­tage cars, the Ben­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice Swat/Res­cue ve­hi­cle and a dump truck from Neosho, Mo., brought up the rear.

Shortly af­ter the pa­rade ar­rived at Vet­er­ans Park, the cer­e­mony be­gan with the post­ing of the Col­ors (Amer­i­can flag) by the Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 29 Honor Guard. The De­catur High School band per­formed the Na­tional An­them, fol­lowed by the pledge of al­le­giance.

In ad­di­tion to the band, the De­catur High School choir, along with the Faith and Free­dom Blue­grass trio and the North­side El­e­men­tary chil­dren’s choir, pro­vided the pa­tri­otic mu­sic for this year’s event.

Con­gress­man Wo­mack and De­catur Mayor Bob Tharp ded­i­cated the new De­catur Cen­ten­nial Tree and mon­u­ment. The 14foot ev­er­green tree, a Green Gi­ant, was planted by the city of De­catur and the De­catur Vet­er­ans Com­mit­tee as part of Gov­er­nor Asa Hutchin­son’s cen­ten­nial com­mem­o­ra­tion pro­gram mark­ing the end of World War I. Wood­man Life’s Fayet­teville Chap­ter spon­sored the mon­u­ment, which was placed in front of the tree.

Tharp con­cluded the event by rec­og­niz­ing past and present Vet­er­ans Com­mit­tee mem­bers. The list in­cluded Rob Hop­kins (com­mit­tee chair­man), Jean John­son, Toby Con­rad, JP Bob Bland, Doug Florer, Fay Gilbert, Clint Gilbert, Matt McClain, Terry Luker, Mike Eckels and Reuben Barnes.

This year’s Vet­er­ans Day Pa­rade was the long­est to date, while the cer­e­mony saw one of the big­gest shows of sup­port for the na­tion’s vet­er­ans since the event be­gan.

Note: De­catur High School will hold its an­nual Vet­er­ans Day assem­bly at 9:30 a.m., Nov. 8, at Peter­son Gym in De­catur. Toby Con­rad, high school prin­ci­pal, would like to have at least 100 area vet­er­ans at­tend this year’s event.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

Kristin Wages leads North­side El­e­men­tary stu­dents in sev­eral cho­ruses of “Amer­ica” dur­ing the Vet­er­ans Day cer­e­mony on the stage at Vet­er­ans Park on Satur­day.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

U.S. Con­gress­man Steve Wo­mack, driv­ing an M-151 Viet­nam era jeep, hands a pair of sun­glasses to Sheila Verser dur­ing the fourth an­nual Vet­er­ans Day Pa­rade through down­town De­catur Nov. 3.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

A line of mo­tor­cy­cles crosses the viaduct on North Main Street in De­catur dur­ing the fourth an­nual Vet­er­ans Day Pa­rade Nov. 3 in down­town De­catur.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

Mem­bers of the Vet­er­ans of For­eign Wars Post 9834 (Howard-Par­rish chap­ter) ride a float down Main Street in De­catur on Satur­day. The float was part of the fourth an­nual De­catur Vet­er­ans Pa­rade which started at Third Street and ended at Vet­er­ans Park.

West­side Ea­gle Ob­server/MIKE ECKELS

Rob Hop­kins, chair­man of the De­catur Vet­er­ans Com­mit­tee, looks on as An­nie Janes gives a short speech on the mean­ing of be­ing an Amer­i­can dur­ing the Vet­er­ans Day cel­e­bra­tion at Vet­er­ans Park in De­catur on Satur­day.

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