Veteran’s Day Parades Across the South
The kids are out of school so take some time to salute our troops by attending a Veteran’s Day Parade near you. This day is set aside on November 11th to honor those who served in the United States Armed Forces. Marking the one-year anniversary of the end of World War I (which happened at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month), it was first observed as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, with a proclamation by President Woodrow Wilson. The man to organize the very first celebration of this day was Raymond Weeks of Birmingham, Alabama. He called it “National Veterans Day.” A parade was held to honor all veterans making it the oldest Veteran’s Day Parade in America. President Ronald Reagan said Weeks was the driving force behind Veteran’s Day as we know it today and honored him with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982. In 1954 Armistice Day was changed to Veteran’s Day. On this national holiday, we celebrate all military veterans, both living and deceased, with festivities, school programs, and parades across our nation ranging from one day to all week long. My dad always enjoyed coming to my boy’s elementary school to honor him for his service in the Korean War. Many dads, granddads, and great-granddads were in attendance and some even in uniform. In some cities the festivities stretch out over several days and include dinners for local vets and their families. We have found some great parades across the South for you and your family to attend.
Arlington National Cemetery
Date: Nov. 11, 2017
Time: 11:00 am
Where: Arlington, Virginia
Each year, Arlington National Cemetery holds its National Veteran’s Day Ceremony which begins with a Presidential Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (space is limited to standing room only for the wreath laying ceremony). The ceremony will continue with a parade of colors by veteran’s groups in the Memorial Amphitheater. The event is free and is open to the public but get there early to get a good viewing spot.
Date: Nov. 11
Time: 11:11 am
Where: Downtown Atlanta on Peachtree Street
This is Atlanta's 36th Annual Veteran’s Day Parade. In keeping with the historical meaning of this day, the parade will start at 11:11am. According to the Georgia Veterans Day Association, the parade will proceed south on Peachtree Street and will end at Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Marietta Street. The reviewing stand will be on Baker Street between the World of Coca Cola and Georgia Aquarium.
Date: Nov. 11
Time: 1:30 pm
Where: 18th Street and 9th Ave. N.
Birmingham is home to the oldest and, with over 80,000 guests in attendance, one of the largest Veteran’s Day Parades in America. WWII veteran and Birmingham resident, Raymond Weeks, organized and held the very first parade in Birmingham in 1947. Two days of events are scheduled. On Nov. 10, a memorial service will be held in Linn Park to honor Raymond Weeks for his persistence in honoring our Veterans through parades and celebrations. This year they are also honoring the Navajo Code Talkers with the National Veterans Award and celebrating the 100th anniversary of WWI. Included in the parade will be vintage aircraft from the WWI era in a flyover and the entire 117th Air Refueling Wing (over 500 airmen) will be marching in the parade.
Date: Nov. 11th
Time: 11 am
Where: Branson Convention Center
Known as America’s largest Veteran’s Day Parade event, Branson is proud to be holding its 85th Annual Veteran’s Day Parade and Ceremony this year. The Veteran’s Day Parade is organized by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 913 located in Downtown Branson. Famous for its patriotism, Branson’s salute to our military is a week-long tribute which they call Veteran’s Homecoming leading up to the parade on November 11. They welcome our service men and women and families with celebrations and galas throughout the week.
Date: Nov. 5
Time: Opening Ceremony 1 pm; Parade begins at 2 pm
Where: Memorial Park
Located on the Potomac River and near Fort Detrick; approximately 115 parade entries will be participating in Brunswick’s 85th Annual Veteran’s Day Parade. Being one of the oldest parades, thousands of people across the region will be in attendance to salute our active and retired military. The City of Brunswick has a special commemoration to honor their veterans each year by hanging banners throughout downtown with the veteran's picture. The banners are hung prior to Memorial Day and will remain on display through Veterans Day (which covers The 4th of July and Flag Day).
Date: Nov. 4
Time: 10 am
Where: Historic Downtown Fayetteville
Located near Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, the nation’s largest army base, is home to the 82nd Airborne Division, Special Forces, and Golden Knights (to name a few) has a special presence in the Veteran’s Day festivities each year. Fayetteville is proud to kick off a community-wide week-long celebration of our veterans called Heroes Homecoming with the Veteran’s Day Parade. The parade will have 100 participants including active duty, veteran’s organizations, military equipment, ROTC units and marching bands. After the parade, the events continue with the Traveling Vietnam Wall hosted by the Airborne & Special Operations Museum (November 9-13); a Bob Hope Tribute show (November 11); and a massive Heroes Homecoming Motorcycle ride and rally in downtown Fayetteville (November 11.) Following the parade, the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex is hosting author Cyndi Briggs, who wrote “A Soldiers’ Heart: Understanding Vietnam Veterans Experiences Through Oral History.”
Date: Nov. 10th
Time: 11 am
Where: Downtown Franklin
Franklin’s parade started in 2001 in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11. This years’ parade includes grand marshals; floats; marching bands and JROTC units from the local schools; over 1000 4th graders; and, of course, our Veterans. Franklin has adopted a unit at Kentucky’s Fort Campbell . When not deployed, their soldiers participate in the parade and activities. A brunch is provided before the parade for all veterans and their families.
Gulf Coast, MS
Date: Nov. 11
Time: 11 am
Where: Caillavet Street and Bayview Avenue; Biloxi, MS
The 2017 GCVP will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) in Gulfport, MS. This year’s Grand Marshal will be Master Chief Dick Wade. Mr. Wade served in WWII and retired in 1990 at the Gulfport NCBC after serving a total of 45 years, 11 months and 3 days in the armed forces of the United States. Prior to the parade, the MS National Guard Jazz Combo will perform on the steps at City Hall. Following the parade, make your way to the Biloxi Town Green for the Red White & Blue Festival. There will be live entertainment, Arts & Crafts, food vendors and more from 10 am – 3 pm. “The event is free to the public. Our Veterans have already paid the price!”
Van Buren, AR
Date: Nov. 9
Time: 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Where: Historic Downtown Main Street
Held in the evening, this is the 16th Annual Van Buren Veteran’s Day Parade which was started as a tribute by Parade Director Les Thomas, Jr. to his father, PFC Leslie Thomas, Sr.’s service in World War II. It has grown from 12 entries the first year to nearly 150 entries. All past and present military, service personnel, police, fire, EMT, and first responders are honored. The parade begins at the Crawford County Courthouse and ends at the First Baptist Church on East Main Street. Van Buren also honors their military with Hometown Hero Banners depicting photos of the town’s service men and women.