A Veteran's Day Parade is scheduled for Nov. 11 after more than five decades of absense.
A group of local veteran's and family members of fallen heroes have organized a parade to honor the men and women who unselfishly serve America.
"I can't find where Miami has had a Veteran's Day parade for over 50 years," said Melvin Cook, president of the Vietnam Veteran's chapter 277.
The endeavor began in the midst of a pursuit by war veteran to ensure that, when the men and women of current war return, they are welcomed home.
"We don't ever want to have happen to these kids what happened to us when we returned home,” Cook said.
Carolyn Norton, the mother of local fallen soldier Jason Norton, joins Cook and others in honoring those who put their lives on the line so American remains free.
“I have been told that the citizens of this community do not want to participate with any activities that would occur on Veterans Day,” Norton said. “I cannot believe this is a true statement. These brave men and women have, and still today, put their lives on the line to fight for all the things you are able to enjoy and the choices you make from day to day.”
Jason Norton, 32, was killed Jan. 22, 2006, when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device while conducting convoy escort duties near Taji, Iraq.
“My son left for Iraq telling his family ‘I will be alright,'” Norton said. “As we talked over the next few months he truly believed he was where he needed to be. Now our family is faced with the challenge of keeping his memories alive while his children grow up in this community. I think of all he gave and his family has given up to defend the rights we have as citizens and to make this country a better place to live.”
According to Cook, a veteran is not just someone who served during wartime.
“A veteran is anyone who is proud enough to put on a military uniform to serve and protect our country,” Cook said. “A veteran is someone doing his or her job whether on the front lines or back in the states so that freedom may ring out.”
The parade was organized so that Ottawa County residents have the opportunity to show support for everyone who has served the country.
“It's a good way to show how much we appreciate what our military men and women have done and continue doing everyday for us,” Norton said.
The parade committee encourages anyone who wants to say “thank you” to the veteran's of the community to join the parade and following activities.
The parade will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 11.
“We scheduled it so as not to interfere with school activities on Veteran's Day,” Cook said.
The route begins at 5th and Main streets and ends at the courthouse with a dedication of the new courthouse and tributes to the veterans.
“It's the same route as the Christmas parade and we encourage anyone who participates in the Christmas parade to participate in the Veteran's Day parade,” Cook said. “It's free advertisement for businesses and a great way to show support for our veterans.”
Businesses, churches, clubs, bands, individual's or anyone who would like to join the parade can make arrangements to do so by contacting Cook at 918-542-2716.