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Veterans Day Parade returns to Johnson City

Robert Houk • Oct 4, 2018 at 12:00 AM

Strike up the band. The Veterans Day Parade is returning to Johnson City.

It’s been decades since a holiday parade has been held in the city to salute veterans. That will change on Nov. 10 when the American Legion, Kings Mountain Post 24, hosts a Veterans Day Parade in the downtown area.

Bryan Lauzon, commander of the local American Legion post, said the parade will begin at 11 a.m. with participants gathering on Commerce Street. The parade route takes a left on State of Franklin Street before turning onto Legion Street where the event ends at the World War I Doughboy statue at the Memorial Park Community Center.

The parade will be held on Saturday before the actual date of Veterans Day, which falls on Sunday this year. Lauzon said the parade commemorates the 100th anniversary of the end to World War I. Originally known as Armistice Day, the allies celebrated the end of combat in what was then called “the Great War,”  which came on the 11th hour, of 11th day, of the 11th month in 1918.

President Dwight Eisenhower signed a law in 1954 that changed the name of the federal holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

Lauzon said Wednesday organizers have already signed up 17 organizations to participate in the parade. He said vehicles and personnel from Johnson City’s police, fire and emergency medical services will be a part of the parade, as well as representatives from many area groups for veterans.

The parade will honor veterans from the Revolutionary War, beginning with the Overmountain Men, through the two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Lauzon said his research found Johnson City had held a Veterans Day Parade as far back as 1919. That tradition, however, began to fade sometime in the 1970s.

He said renewing the tradition has been a learning process for the American Legion, and one that he hopes will grow and become even better with every year it is held.

The commander said there’s still time to sign up for the event by going online at alpost24tn org, emailing [email protected] or calling 929-1251.

“We still need a band,” Lauzon said. “It’s just not a parade without a band.”

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