VVA (Vietnam Veterans of America) Chapter 1072 is hosting a Veterans Day Parade in White Sulphur Springs on Thursday, Nov. 11. This parade is an annual event that is returning after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The lineup will begin at 12 p.m. on Ingleside Avenue. The kick-off will be between 12:45 and 1 p.m. There will be floats and walkers from various groups, businesses and organizations. In addition, the Greenbrier East Spartan band and VVA Mobile Wall Unit are participating. Lee Johnson, a 91-year-old, local Korean War veteran is the Grand Marshall of the parade.
The organization responsible for this event, VVA Chapter 1072 was formed in October of 2012 and has been striving to help local veterans ever since. They meet each month in White Sulphur Springs. The Veterans Day Parade is not the organization’s only annual event. They also hold an annual veterans dinner at the fairgrounds with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic, according to Bobby White who is part of the organization. Other fundraisers are held depending on current needs. The organization helps veterans pay for utility bills as well as other needs.
After the parade concludes, a service will take place at the Veterans Memorial in town. There will be a “reading of the names” that will include those that are etched onto the black granite of the memorial, which is an ongoing project. The end result will include six slabs of black granite, each filled with names of deceased veterans. According to White, each slab contains 48 names. The fifth slab of black granite was recently completed, just in time for the 2021 Veterans Day events. The names on the memorial include brave individuals who served in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm, White said.
Officials with VVA Chapter 1072 anticipate the celebration at the Veterans Memorial to begin around 2 p.m. The service will be followed by a luncheon. Veterans will be served first and then it will be open to the public until the food is gone, according to Cathy Cain, one of the organizers.
Among those who will be present at the event is the State President for the VVA. Also, Senator Stephen Baldwin will participate in the parade and is slated to be a guest speaker at the event.
“Growing up in this community, we learned to respect our veterans. From parades to school assemblies to special projects, I always saw Veteran’s Day as a major holiday. These men and women were willing to put their lives on the line for their neighbors; nothing is more noble than that. So since I’ve served in the Legislature, I’ve made it a priority to serve those who serve us all,” Baldwin said of his participation. He went on, detailing a project that he has been working on for local Veterans saying, “The big project for the last few years has been building a new veteran’s nursing home in southern West Virginia. There’s a significant need for it as veterans reach the age when they need more care than the average citizen, and we owe it to them and their families to meet their every need. After a long struggle, this year we finally assembled all the funds to build the new Veterans Nursing Home in Beckley, W.Va. I’m so excited about this because now veterans can stay close to home and near their families while also getting the good medical care they deserve.”
There will be awards given out to the best entries in the parade. This includes first, second and third place as well as best-in-show. There will also be an award for the most patriotic. The first-place recipient will take home an impressive $200. Second place will walk away with $100 and third place will receive $50.
Cain, who has been working on the event since August said, “It sounds like we are going to have a pretty good parade.” Of the parade and memorial White said, “It’s just a great thing…I think it’s a great way to show our patriotism and love of our country and show some appreciation for our veterans alive and deceased.”
COVID-19 restrictions will be observed and followed during these events.
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