Parade’s a veterans day tradition
On Nov. 11, in a tradition dating from the end of the Civil War, Leavenworth County residents will join to celebrate and commemorate the survivors of wartime past and present by holding one of the largest and oldest parades in the Midwest.
The Veterans Day Parade of Leavenworth County is attended by groups as diverse as local high schools marching on the ground to F-16 fighter pilots flying in jets overhead, said Charley Shoemaker, parade chairman.
Veterans Day is particularly important in Lansing, where the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter is helping to plan the parade for the first time.
Jim Fricke, post commander of the Lansing VFW, said this was also the first year the parade will have an information booth, which five members of the Lansing group will run.
"As the participants come up, they come to the info booth and we are able to direct them to the right location," Fricke said. "There are many different staging areas."
In addition to being active in planning and manning the information booth, the Lansing VFW will have a float, and 10 members plan to march in the parade.
Because private companies are not required to give their employees Veterans Day off, many of the younger Lansing VFW members are unable to attend the parade.
Eleven-year Lansing resident Michael Clark, who served in Desert Storm as an infantry squad leader in the 101st airborne division, is taking care of two of his three kids on parade day, one of whom will be marching in the parade. Clark isn't sure yet whether he'll be manning the information booth or marching - it's up to the mood of his 2-year-old.
Either way he's proud to be a part of celebrating Veterans' Day, which Clark said was an important day to remember.
"I think we need to keep clear in people's minds the fact that we have a group of people out there who are willing to go and fight and die for the ideals of the country. That somehow gets lost a lot of the time," Clark said. "The other reason is to make sure that the family members of those who are deployed right now are reminded that people care about them and all of the issues that surround them."