Roswell has the opportunity to honor soldiers young and old at the Veterans Day Parade scheduled to take place Saturday at 10 a.m.
This year, Dennis Johnson, Jack Swickard and John Schaffer will serve as grand marshals of the parade and will lay wreaths down at the memorial site. All three men are Medal of Valor recipients.
According to Rita Kane-Doerhoefer, parade committee member, this year there are close to 60 entries. Included in those entries are 100 Patriot Guard motorcycles, entries from American Legion and Valley Vintage Motor Car Club. There will also be six bands, two high school and four middle school. She added that all service branches will be represented in the parade and all ranks are welcome, from brigadier generals to buck privates.
One of those participants, Jim Cassidy, who served 20 years in the United States Air Force, will be with Corvettes for Vets. Ever since taking his first ride in his brother’s Corvette at the age of 6, Cassidy dreamed of owning one of his own. His dream became a reality when he purchased his 2007 C-6 for his 45th birthday and Saturday, he’ll combine his love of the classic car with his respect for his fellow veterans.
“I’m blessed that I am a veteran and supporting them is important,” he said.
Festivities will begin at the War Memorial at 10 a.m. and the parade will proceed from Third Street to Main Street then north to New Mexico Military Institute. In the caravan will be two Humvees and four active duty New Mexico National Guardsmen. Girl Scouts will distribute more than 750 tiny American flags to the crowd so people can wave in support during the parade.
Kane-Doerhoefer said it is preferred that everyone register with her by today at the latest, due to the fact that she will be reading information about the participants to the crowd, but people will be allowed to join the parade the day of, and, “Vets get in no matter what.”
Anyone who’s not a veteran, but wants to participate will be placed in back.
Rehearsal for the parade took place at the War Memorial at 10 a.m. Thursday. The Tom Blake Trio sang from 8:30-10 a.m., to entertain the vets in attendance. Kane-Doerhoefer said the whole process has been tiring, but well worth the effort. “It’s always hectic, but it always comes together,” she said. “It’s very important we honor our veterans.”