Many men and women have served their country in the military, or continue their service in the armed forces to help keep the United States free.
Corinth and Alcorn County is being asked to step forward to pay tribute to local residents who have served their country, but also those who currently wear the uniform and serve their country.
“This is a way for all of us to say thanks for veterans’ military service,” said Bobby McDaniel, organizer of the Corinth-Alcorn County Veterans Day Parade.
The parade is held annually on Nov. 11 and this year the date falls on a Thursday. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and proceeds down Fillmore Street in historic downtown Corinth to the Alcorn County Courthouse, where a brief program will be held on court square, said McDaniel.
All patriotic groups are encouraged to attend. Parade lineup begins at 9 a.m. beside First Baptist Church along Fillmore Street.
“All entries must be a patriotic group or person,” said McDaniel.
All local high school bands, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency services, state, county and city elected officials, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and veteran support groups are being asked to participate.
This year’s parade is dedicated to the Marine Corps.
Grand marshal of the parade is Michael Goad, commander of VFW Post 3962 in Corinth and a retired Marine. Nora Moreland, current commander of the American Legion Post 6 in Corinth, is also a retired Marine.
U.S. Army veteran Doug Hayhurst will be the special guest speaker at the program following the parade. Hayhurst retired with the rank of colonel and rose to the rank of general in the Mississippi State Guard, said McDaniel.
Veterans Day, originally celebrated as Armistice Day, was first established on November 11, 1919, by President Woodrow Wilson a year after the end of World War I. The purpose of Armistice Day was to honor the fallen soldiers of the Great War for their sacrifice and bravery. Seven years later, in 1926, Congress adopted a resolution requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue annual proclamations on Nov. 11, making Armistice Day a legal holiday.
Veteran Raymond Weeks had the idea in 1945 to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans rather than just the ones who died in World War I. He led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who was all for the idea. Weeks then organized the first Veterans Day celebration in 1945 in Alabama and every year since, until he died in 1985. He was honored by President Reagan with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982. Weeks was also named the “Father of Veterans Day” by Elizabeth Dole.
U.S. Representative Ed Rees from Emporia, Kansas, presented a bill in 1954 to establish the holiday to Congress. Eisenhower, who was then the president and also from Kansas, signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954, eight and a half years after Raymond Weeks held the first Veterans Day. After having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress – at the urge of the veterans’ service organizations – amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
“We sure hope everyone comes out to pay tribute,” said McDaniel, who has organized the local parade for many years. “These men and women served – and are currently serving – to protect our freedoms.”