story and photos by Jeremy Donnell
Ellis street and Darby Ave were lined with people on both sides including a few bleachers that were full of people at 11 a.m. Saturday morning (Nov. 3). All these people were there to show respect for Veterans during the Veteran’s Day Parade at Chaffee Crossing.
Arriving early was a must considering the long line of cars waiting to park. One traffic controller said “it has been like this since 9 a.m.” The parade started on time at 11 a.m. with the fire trucks and ambulances leading the way. Everything started out on Ellis street, turned on to Darby Ave and finished off going up Terry street. This makes up the new Chaffee Historic District that has been recently included on the National Register of Historic Places.
The mission was to put together a Veterans Day Parade that will honor all that have served to protect the freedoms we enjoy, not only in our own country, but also to those too weak or powerless to obtain freedom for themselves around the world.
The parade included floats with Veterans from all the surrounding counties, numerous bikers, antique cars, military vehicles, politicians, youth floats, horses, fire trucks, and the North Side marching band.
In mid October the 188th Fighter Wing returned home to Arkansas after deployment to Afghanistan. The 280 troops received a warm welcome home during todays parade.
While most of the 188th, also known as Flying Razorbacks, were deployed for 3 months some were there for six months, but everyone came back safely.
With more than 70 entries the parade route had to be extended and on Saturday morning lasted almost an hour. When the final float made it down Ellis street people flocked over to catch one more glimpse of the floats as they headed up Terry street to finish the route. There were many tables set up along Terry street with area veterans service organizations. Any information veterans needed could be found here.
Christ the King choir sang immediately after the parade at the Chaffee Barbershop Museum with Sutton Elementary singing outside the museum shortly after them around 12:30.
VETERANS DAY HISTORY
The day honoring veterans of the U.S. military was originally based around Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I – Nov. 11, 1918.
It wasn’t until the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower that a “Uniform Holiday Bill” was signed (June 28, 1968) to create three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day.
At the time, the legislation was also geared to use the extended weekends to promote travel and recreation in a country with more roads and more automobiles.
However, there was confusion among the states about the law. It wasn’t until Sept. 20, 1975, that President Gerald Ford formally set the observance of Veterans Day on Nov. 11. The first observance was in 1978.