Organizers hope Veterans Day Parade theme recruits American Legion members

Alice Matherly, of Cool Ridge, left, rings her cow bell during the Beckley Veterans Day Parade from corner of Heber and Neville Street Monday morning.(Rick Barbero/The Register-Herald)

"A Foundation for the Future" is this year's theme for the American Legion Veterans Parade in Beckley, scheduled for Monday, Nov. 11. 

The parade, hosted by American Legion's West Virginia Post 32 in Raleigh County, is using the national American Legion's motto of "A Foundation for the Future" in hopes of recruiting more individuals into the organization. 

David Bragg, the commander of the Raleigh County American Legion, said the organization works to supply veterans with resources to assist them in their day-to-day lives. 

"In order to make sure those resources are available for the future, we have to do the best we can to get veterans involved in the American Legion in the future, instead of letting it die out," Bragg said. "That's what this year's parade is all about, recruiting others to get involved. We want to make sure we build a firm group of people to make sure future veterans get assistance." 

This year's Veterans Parade will also offer performances by local marching bands to perform music from their regular halftime shows on Beckley Intermodal Gateway after the parade, along with a special ending to the parade. 

At the very end of this year's parade, members of the community are invited to join the parade for a "Memory and Honor Walk" to honor veteran loved ones by walking with a photo or sign. 

"It allows people who have lost loved ones in the service, or know someone who has a disability due to the service, a chance to walk and honor them," said Bragg, who is also a U.S. Navy veteran. "I think it's such a wonderful addition to this year's parade, because not only does it give family and friends the chance to honor their loved ones, it means a lot to the veterans who attend to watch the parade as well." 

The deadline to enter a float for the parade is Thursday, Nov. 7. Forms can be picked up from Jill Moorefield and mailed to P.O. Box 2514, Beckley, or delivered to 409 S. Kanawha St., Beckley, WV 25801.

The form can also be faxed to 304-256-18166 or emailed to jmoorefield@beckley.org.

While the parade begins at 11 a.m., those participating must line up at Park Middle School between 9 and 10:15 a.m. Children can arrive between 10 and 10:30 a.m. and can be dropped off in front of City National Bank on Park Avenue. 

All vehicles must enter from Woodlawn Avenue turning onto Park Avenue, and bands and walking units will line up at Beckley Intermodal Gateway between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Military vehicles will line up at 3rd Avenue McManus Trail Lot between 10 and 10:30 a.m. and classic cars line up at City National Bank at Park Avenue by 10:30 a.m. 

There will also be a float competition for the use of the theme and originality. The judges' stand will be near Jim Word Memorial Park on Neville Street, and judges ask those participating to please have the name of the group on the float clearly visible for judging on all sides. 

Awards will be presented at the American Legion Post 32 on South Kanawha Street at 1 p.m. that day.  

For more information on float requirements and parade information, contact Jill Moorefield at 304-256-1776.

— Email: jnelson@register-herald.com; follow on Twitter @jnelsonRH

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