Veterans, civic organizations, schools and individuals are being sought to participate in the annual Veterans Day Parade, set for 11 a.m. Nov. 9 on the downtown square in Enid.
Bill Cooley, with Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 940, said the Vietnam Veterans and Blue Star Mothers Oklahoma Chapter 11 put on the parade each year to honor veterans, first responders and their many sacrifices. This year, he’s hoping to grow the event, both in participants and those who come out to watch the parade.
Cooley said participants don’t need to have a special float, or any special status to participate in the parade.
“We would like anybody — anybody who wants to be in the parade and show respect for military and first responders, we would love to have them,” Cooley said. “I don’t care if you have time to build a float or not. If you have a pickup and put a flag in the back, that’s great. That’s what we want.”
He said participants do not have to be veterans or first responders.
Individual veterans are invited to participate, and will march in the parade as a group. If they’re unable to walk the parade route, Cooley said there will be room in cars, pickups, floats or on a handicap-accessible trailer so all veterans can participate in the parade.
Good response already has come in, Cooley said, from Enid police and fire departments, Life EMS and county volunteer fire departments to have vehicles and personnel in the parade. The public affairs office of the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance Air Force Base said the base also will be represented in the parade.
A number of biker organizations, including Downed Bikers Association, AmVets Riders, bikers from the American Legion, VFW and Enid Moose Lodge already have signed up, Cooley said.
He also is talking with nursing homes, to have veterans ride in nursing homes’ buses in the parade, and he’s looking for more area school bands to march and play in the parade.
Civic organizations, clubs and individuals that want to be in the parade also can sign up, Cooley said.
The sign-up form and more information are available at https://tinyurl.com/EnidVetsParadeForm.
Cooley encouraged anyone interested in the public to participate in the parade “to show support for people who give us the freedoms we have.”
In addition to parade participants, Cooley said the success of the event hinges on the public coming out to watch and enjoy the event, and to support veterans.
Last year’s event competed with football and temperatures in the teens, drawing few attendees. But, Cooley said, many veterans, including some in their 90s, and some in wheelchairs, came out to participate.
Cooley, who said he was never welcomed home from Vietnam, said it was disheartening to see little support last year for the veterans.
“Everybody comes up and thanks you for your service, but then we put on our parade to say thank you to these men who dedicated their lives to serving this country, and it’s so disheartening to get these veterans out there, and there be no people downtown to show them respect,” Cooley said. “I just want people to come out. I would love to see the downtown square loaded with people.”