One of the largest Hernando Veterans Day parades in recent memory is slated for 10 a.m. Friday, beginning at Mt. Pleasant and Commerce streets and winding its way around the historic Hernando Town Square.
The parade will feature some of the very last remaining World War II heroes, vintage autos, marching high school bands and a host of city and county officials.
"The National Guard will have two groups of soldiers marching, two Humvees, three high school bands, with 100-plus members each, cheerleading squads from the Hernando Youth Football League and other schools, an antique tractor club, with 15 to 20 entries each and veterans from most of the nation's last major wars and conflicts," Veterans Day parade organizer Carolyn Young said. "We want as many veterans marching in the parade as possible."
The National Guard Armory will be the staging area. Golf Cars of Hernando will assist in shuttling veterans to and from the various floats in the parade, according to Young.
Young said a special treat involves a 95-year-old veteran who recently parachuted out of an airplane, two Korean War-era veterans, including one who will be driving a red Mustang convertible.
World War II veteran K.T. Robbins of Olive Branch will be riding in the parade along with its grand marshal, Roy Cash of Collierville, Tenn..
Cash is a retired U.S. Navy captain with a highly-distinguished record of more than 30 years of service to his country. He has received more than 25 military and combat ribbons and medals, including the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest medal for valor in combat, in shooting down a Russian-made MiG-21 jet fighter over North Vietnam. Cash was subsequently rescued at sea by helicopter.
Along with Cash, several high-ranking VIPs are expected to attend.
U.S. Marine Corps Korean War-era veteran Earl Ward said it's his hope the parade will spur patriotism in the community.
"Patriotism is dead in this country as a whole," Ward said. "We need to do something to get it rebuilt."
Organizer Randy Martin agreed.
"When I moved here I saw that people were patriotic and were enthusiastic about doing something like this," Martin said. "That wouldn't happen in other places."
The Hernando Veterans Parade is slated for 10 a.m. on the historic Hernando Square. For more information visit www.hernandoveteransparade.com.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.