Plans to celebrate Veterans Day with a Reverse Parade at the Airport

The American Legion Post 32, the City of Beckley, Visit Southern WV and other interested residents are teaming up to host the annual Veterans Day celebration on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, beginning at 11:00 a.m. Due to Covid-19 concerns and the inability to social distance during a traditional downtown parade, this year’s parade will be a REVERSE PARADE. Parade entries will line up around the circle at the Beckley-Raleigh County Memorial Airport and stay in place. Spectators can view the entries from their vehicles as they drive around the airport circle in front of the terminal.

Static displays (floats, vehicles or booths) celebrating veterans, sharing military history or specific wars, a branch of service, or showing appreciation of our veterans are encouraged. Awards for 1 st , 2 nd and 3 rd Place will be presented to the best patriotic/veterans appreciation entries, and McDonalds will present awards to the best scout entry. Military vehicles, classic cars, bands, emergency vehicles and other entries are welcome. To register for the reverse parade, complete an entry form found on the city’s website (www.beckley.org) or call Beckley Events at 304-256-1776 to request the information by mail or email.

Line-up for parade entries will begin at 9:30 am; displays/floats need to be in place by 10:45 am. Spectators who wish to see the parade by driving thru in their vehicle should plan to arrive at the airport anytime between 11:00 am and 12:45 pm. The line of vehicles to see the event will form along the Airport Industrial Park Road.

For 70 years, the American Legion Post 32 in Beckley has hosted a Veterans Day Parade on the 11 th day of the 11 th month starting at 11 AM.  This was the time of the signing of the peace treaty that ended World War One.  According to Bill Miller who organizes the vintage military vehicle group, “The committee who helps organize our Veterans Parade each year met to consider options on how to honor our veterans this year.  Our veterans, when called upon to serve our country, did not ask if it was dangerous to serve, but responded with commitment. The organizing committee wants to continue honoring our Veterans, but in a safe way, so we decided that a reverse parade would be the best option for this year.” Tom Cochran, Manager of The Raleigh County Memorial Airport welcomed the event and added that the airport is a fitting location, not only for logistics but also history.  The airport was built and dedicated to those who gave their lives in World War II.  This dedication took place in 1952 (see news story about the airport dedication in 1952 at https://www.newspapers.com/clip/37691/beckley-post-herald/.

The Raleigh County Veterans Museum is also planning their annual “Healing Fields” event at the museum on Harper Road. Their ceremony will begin at 2:00 pm on November 11. To remember or honor veterans in the annual Healing Fields, contact the museum to reserve a flag in their name to show your support for Veterans – forms are available now; the cost is $5. Visit the museum’s Facebook page, website or call 304-253-1775.

AMERICAN LEGION POST 32 BECKLEY VETERANS PARADE INFORMATION

PARADE DATE: Wednesday, November 11, 2020, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.
LINE UP: Entries can arrive for line up at the Beckley-Raleigh County Memorial Airport between 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. Please have your float or display ready by 10:45 am.
NO PARADE ROUTE – THIS IS A REVERSE PARADE located at the Beckley-Raleigh County Memorial Airport. Entries stay in place, while spectators drive thru to view the entries.

EMERGENCY VEHICLES: Please complete an entry form so we can designate space for your unit. NO LOUD SIRENS ARE PERMITTED.

CANDY/ITEMS: NO CANDY or HAND-OUTS WILL BE GIVEN OUT FROM PARADE ENTRIES. If you wish to offer candy, please label 200 items to give to the committee for goody bags – only one bag will be given out to each of the first 200 vehicles with children. If you want to donate items for vehicles that have veterans riding in them, please provide 100 labeled items to the parade committee. If you want to include items in either of the bags, please deliver them to Visit Southern WV location at 1408 Harper Road – Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm by November 2. If you are unable to deliver during their office hours, call 304-252-2244.

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