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LaFollette to host second annual Veteran’s Day Parade

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By PETER SAWYER

 LaFollette will host the second annual Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11 at 3 p.m.

“Everybody’s invited to attend,” parade organizer Roger Bingham said. 

Military vehicles have been promised along with active duty troops.

“We’ll be throwing candy out,” Bingham said. “We’re just hoping for a big crowd.”

Bingham is organizing the parade along with Preacher Tom Gillum and former director of Campbell County Veterans Affairs Office Bob Andreas. All three are Vietnam veterans, Bingham said.

The Campbell County Honor Guard, American Legion Post 154 Honor Guard and the Appalachian Chapter 105 of the Disabled American Veterans will all serve as grand marshals for the parade.

“We appreciate the service of the American Legion, the DAV and our Honor Guard,” said Kevin Walden, director for the Campbell County Veterans Affairs Office. “They’re just such servants in our community, and we cannot honor them enough.”

The grand marshals will lead the parade along its route down Central Avenue from LaFollete United Methodist Church to Sonic. Veterans and active duty troops will follow them.

“You’ve got your grand marshal,” Bingham said. “Then you’ve got your veterans and your active duty (troops).”

Men and women who are serving or who have served in any military branch, including the coast guard and merchant marines, are invited to participate, Bingham said. Bingham wants to invite people who have served out of the Jacksboro National Guard to participate in the parade. He especially wants the men and women who have served in the Persian Gulf and in the War on Terror to participate in the parade.

“They deserve the recognition,” Bingham said. “We’d like to see them treated better than us. Welcomed home better than we got.”

Widows and the children of veterans who have died can ride in the parade and display the name of the veterans they wish to honor.

“We’d like to have the churches involved too,” Bingham said. “They came across the big pond to serve God any way they wanted. If it wasn’t for the vets, they wouldn’t be able to worship the way they wanted to.”

Following the troops will be politicians, citizens and businesses. The military gives Americans the right to own businesses, Bingham said.

“It’s all paid for in the blood of men and women,” Bingham said. “We’d like them to participate.”

Participants will line up at LUMC between 2 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Participants need to contact Bingham at 201-5310 or Gillum at 494-6349.

There hadn’t been a parade in LaFollette for 20 years until last year. Bingham asked Mayor Mike Stanfield about hosting a parade. Stanfield asked Bingham, Gillum and Andreas to put one together. They had five weeks to prepare.

“Nobody else was stepping up to do it,” Bingham said.

Last year’s Veterans’ Day Parade was the first in about 20 years.

“For the time we had, it went over well,” Bingham said.

Last year, it was held during the week. This year, the parade will be held on a Sunday afternoon, and they have been preparing for two and a half months. 

“Should be two or three times bigger,” Bingham said.

“And military vehicles that have been promised, troops that have been promised,” Bingham said.

There will be other services to honor veterans in Campbell County. 

“We’re glad to honor our veterans,” Walden said.

On Nov. 10, a service will be held in Veterans’ Park in Jellico at 1 p.m. On Nov. 11, at 10:45 a.m. a service will be held at the Church of God Mountain Assembly in Jellico. A service will also be held at the Campbell County Veterans’ Memorial in Jacksboro on Nov. 12 at 11 a.m.

“This is a very veteran friendly county,” Walden said. “We’re blessed to be a part of it.”