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Veterans Day parade participation needed

Greensburg Daily News - 11/3/2023

Nov. 3—GREENSBURG — Greensburg'sVeterans Day parade is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, with the parade lineup getting underway at 10 a.m.

Maintaining a local tradition, lineup will begin in the Gilliland-Howe Funeral Home parking lot and finish around the Veterans Memorial on the south side of the Decatur County Courthouse.

Unfortunately, over the last several years local participation in the Veterans Day parade has dwindled. The date of the event has changed often in the hopes of stimulating more participation.

Why don't more people participate?

It could be because it's so close to the Greensburg Christmas parade. Maybe its proximity to the recent Fall Festival parade has people burned out on parades. Or, it could be because the everyday hubbub of busy lives and conflicting schedules has stolen the meaning of it. Or, it could be simply because Nov. 11 has a history of bringing with it cold, wet and unpleasant weather.

Leslie Thackery, who has had a hand in planning the event for nearly 20 years, has heard many excuses, but she's still determined to make the event more important to the people of Greensburg.

"It's about saying 'thank you' to the unsung heroes who've fought for us, the dead and the living," she recently said.

There are some interesting misconceptions about the holiday.

Veterans Day is not the same as Memorial Day. Memorial Day is also known as "Armistice Day" and is still celebrated worldwide to commemorate the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.

In the United States, we observe Memorial Day to honor those who have died in our nation's wars. It originated during the American Civil War when citizens placed flowers on the graves of those who had been killed in battle.

In 1921, the nation celebrated Memorial Day with the burial of an unknown soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Many visit the nation's capital to witness the changing of the guard. It's an appropriately solemn ceremony, one that makes it worth the trip.

Another little known fact about Veterans Day is that it's not spelled with an apostrophe. It's an insignificant point, perhaps, but it's an important distinction.

The lack of an apostrophe means that the day belongs to all veterans of war, not just the dead or the living.

And it's not just about those who have fought the enemy face-to-face on a bloody battleground, but rather anyone who has understood the need to serve our country and answered that call.

The United States has declared war 11 times and fought in many conflicts around the world in its relatively short 200 year history.

More than 41 million Americans have served in those conflicts.

President Harry S. Truman summed it up when he said, "Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices."

There is no need to register for the parade. This year's event will be led by the Tigers Navy Sea Cadets and will feature a guest speaker and the Decatur County Marching Band.

If you appreciate the sacrifices made by our nation's veterans — past and present, living and dead — it is hoped you will come out on Nov. 11 and either participate in or stand on the sidelines and watch this year's Veterans Day parade.

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-651-0876 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com

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