Dozens of brave men and women who have or are serving in the United States military will walk and ride in the 20th annual Veterans Honor Parade Saturday in Historic Downtown Hopkinsville.
The Hopkinsville-Christian County Recreation Department invites thousands of "sidewalk saluters" to line the streets to honor these service members just 48 hours before Veterans Day.
"We need to honor our veterans for the freedoms that we have," said Pam Rudd, programs coordinator for the Rec Department. "If it weren't for the veterans who served then and those who are currently serving, we would not be able to have these freedoms to worship and go vote in elections. I think it's important to recognize those folks who are serving or who have served."
The parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Memorial Building, 1202 S. Virginia St. The route turns onto Ninth Street and will end at the Christian County Justice Center.
"It's always heartwarming to see the veterans turn out and walk. A lot of them will be in uniform. I think that's pretty neat," Rudd said. "If a veteran is unable to walk, Parks and Recreation has a float they can ride."
Veterans do not need to register in advance to participate, but are asked to check in at the Memorial Building by 9:15 a.m. the morning of the event, Rudd said.
In addition to the veterans, Rudd said soldiers from Fort Campbell are among those participating, as well as the 101st Airborne Division Honor Guard.
"With our proximity to Fort Campbell, I think we have more of a military connection than a lot of communities that don't have an Army base close by," she said. "I think it's just important that we show our appreciation."
Bands from Hopkinsville, Christian County and Fort Campbell high schools and Hopkinsville Middle School will be marching and performing during the parade.
Additionally, JROTC units from all three high schools will compete with each other on how they perform throughout the parade. Hopkinsville's VFW Post 1913 provides judges for that competition, Rudd said.
"That's always been a very popular event," she said.
The Justice Center will be closed to public parking for the event. Suggested parking areas are Founders Square, Bethel Street, Hopkinsville-Christian County Public Library and West Side Park. For more information, call 270-887-4290.
"We would like to invite everyone to come out and join us," Rudd said. "If it is a little cool, dress warmly. You're looking at about an hour of your time for a very worthwhile, heartwarming cause. Come out and show appreciation for our veterans."
Reach Michele Vowell at 270-887-3242 or firstname.lastname@example.org.