As Mayor Greg Fischer predicted, Louisville's first Veteran's Day parade since the end of World War II today went a long way to honor the service and sacrifices of our military veterans. “We felt like it was a great opportunity to say thank you, said Mayor Fischer, who reminded us that ten percent of the folks living here in Louisville are veterans. “This special observance is the least we can do to honor the dedication and service that our military veterans have made and continue to make every day,” Fischer said.
The Massing of the Colors and Veterans Day Parade commenced at 11:11 a.m., the exact time the Armistice took effect to end World War I in 1918. The parade and other activities took place along historic West Main Street from 4th to 9th Streets, ending at the Frazier History Museum. The parade was be led by the 113th Army Band from Fort Knox, followed by a Joint Services Color Guard.
Louisville’s Veteran’s Day observance was organized by a planning committee chaired by Major General Carl D. Black, USAF, RET. “This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity to pay tribute to American veterans and active duty members of the Armed Services,” Black said. “11:11 AM on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year won’t happen again, and I am honored to chair this committee.”
Just before the start of the Massing of the Colors and parade, an assortment of military planes flew over the parade route. Special bleacher seating was installed for veterans and their families who weren’t able to walk the entire route.
A special display was installed in front of the Frazier Museum: Kentucky’s “40 et 8” boxcar, on loan from the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven. The “40 et 8” boxcar was sent to Kentucky by people in France in 1949 in gratitude for America’s donation of food and life necessities in 1948; each state received a “40 et 8” car. Kentucky’s is one of 35 cars known to remain in existence.
In connection with the “40 et 8” display, volunteers served as docents to explain the “40 et 8” program and the car’s history. Members of the Frazier staff were on hand to record oral histories from visitors on Nov. 11. The Museum also provides reduced admission to the public and free admission to veterans and active military members today.
Attractions along Main Street, including the Louisville Slugger Museum and Bat Factory and the Louisville Science Center, offered special programs or discounted admission today. Other features of the Massing of the Colors and Veterans Parade included displays of restored military equipment provided by the KILROY and 14th Armored Preservation Groups as well as displays by sponsors and veterans’ service organizations.
All expenses of the Massing of the Colors and Veterans Day Parade were underwritten by sponsorships, led by UAW Local 862 and Ford Louisville Assembly Plant and Park Community Federal Credit Union. Other sponsors included: UPS, AAA of Kentucky, First Capital Bank of Kentucky, Grand Masonic Lodge of Kentucky, Highland Funeral Home, Kentucky Masonic Homes, Kosair Charities, Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Louisville Scottish Rite, M&M Cartage Company, National Guard Association of Kentucky (NGAKY); Enlisted Association of the National Guard of KY (EANGKY); VisionWorks LLC, Accent Marketing, Miller/Coors Beer and The Geek Squad.
Also today, at 11 A.M., the members of American Legion Shawnee Post 193, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3204, American Legion Auxiliary Shawnee Unit 193, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 193 and members of the Louisville Pipe Drum and Fire were at 5th and Jefferson to lay a wreath in memory of WWII Veterans.
In Frankfort, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear addressed the Veterans Day ceremony at the Old Capitol building.
Back here in Louisville, Sen. Mitch McConnell and UofL President James Ramsey joined other volunteers to read the names of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan at 10:45 a.m., on the steps of the Ekstrom Library (see video, below).
And at Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery, 500 roses were placed on veterans’ graves.
WHAS’s Gene Kang reports:
Names of the fallen read on U of L campus:
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