Picayune Veterans Day Parade is Saturday

Published 2:55 pm Thursday, November 6, 2008

The annual Picayune Veterans Day Parade is set to roll at 2 p.m., Saturday on its regular downtown route.

It will start on Goodyear Boulevard, turn on to Main Street, head south to West Canal and end back on to Goodyear.

This year’s parade will be sponsored by both the Mississippi Coast Watchers and Picayune Memorial High School’s Navy JROTC.

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“We are asking the public to come out to support and honor our troops and veterans. Bring the kids, parents and grandparents,” Bill Beacht wrote in a memo he submitted to the Item. He was preparing to rally the community for the annual event which he said he is proud to participate in each year. He lamented about the low crowd turnout at last year’s parade and hopes that this parade will draw more spectators.

“We ask all veterans and current military (members) to come out and participate so we can honor you,” Beacht wrote.

Beacht is a member of the Mississippi Coast Watchers — a group that always drives up from the coast to lend their antique military vehicles to the pomp and circumstance of the occasion. Veterans and current active military members are invited to ride along in the vehicles.

There will be a little something for the whole family, said Beacht. Goodies will be thrown from the vehicles to the waiting hands of children. Little ones are invited to bring sacks to collect their booty.

Veterans day is celebrated nationally every year on Nov. 11, which was originallyknown as Armistice Day, the day that fighting in World War I ended in 1918, no matter which day of the week it falls on. It is this way because of a hope and a challenge set forth in a letter written by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Oct. 8, 1954. The letter was addressed to Harvey V. Higley, then Administrator of Veteran’s Affairs. In the letter the President designated Higley as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.

He wrote, “It is my earnest hope that all veterans, their organizations and the entire citizenry will join hands to insure proper and widespread observance of (Veterans Day) … I have every confidence that our Nation will respond wholeheartedly in the appropriate observance of Veterans Day, 1954.”

It is this wish the nation carries forward every year for men and women of the United States military. The Picayune parade’s sponsors ask local residents to come out and join in the Picayune Veterans Day Parade as a patriotic and family friendly celebration, starting at 2 p.m., Saturday in downtown Picayune.

To learn more about the history and origin of Veteran’s Day, visit www.va.gov/vetsday

Sources for this article include U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website and the Picayune Item. For more information, visit www.va.gov/vetsday