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Snowy mountains and slick sidewalks were the backdrop for the sixth annual Veterans Day parade held in downtown Ogden on Saturday morning.
The parade route extended north from 31st Street to 23rd Street, and then curved around to Lindquist Stadium, where the floats and various military personnel dispersed. The parade began at 11:11 a.m. and ran for about an hour.
Rich Sobers, the announcer for the parade, said there were 77 entries for the parade this year, and that it gets bigger every year. He has been announcing the parade for five years to date. Sobers also said this year’s parade is special because it is the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
“This is the 50th anniversary of Vietnam,” Sobers said. “So, this particular parade, they are honoring Vietnam veterans.”
Sobers said the cold weather isn’t unusual, but there have been warmer years.
“There’s been a couple years when it has been warm, but usually it’s raining or snowing. Very, very cold.”
According to Sobers, at least 40 volunteers ran the parade. Ogden City employees and police also helped staff the parade. These volunteers are mostly from Ogden’s Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter. Honoring the veterans is important to Sobers, and he said he knew a few veterans marching in the parade.
“They sacrifice and deserve to be honored. They deserve our attention, and people need to take time,” Sobers said. “It’s Ogden’s way of saying, ‘Thank you for your service.’”
About 40 Weber State University ROTC cadets marched together behind the Air Force. As the WSU ROTC was marching, the cadets were also singing old military songs. The parade attendees applauded and cheered as they passed. The WSU ROTC has about 90 cadets, ranging from freshmen to seniors. According to Lt. Col. Robert Bashein, a WSU professor of military science, the WSU branch has been around for the last 10 years and has always participated in the Veterans Day parade in Ogden.
Bashein led the cadets in the parade, and said the cold weather was nothing the cadets couldn’t handle.
“One thing about the ROTC and Army is that we train in all weather,” Bashein said. He went on to say that the response from the crowds is always positive, and the WSU ROTC will be participating in the parade next year.
Some members of the crowd were standing at the street corners along Washington Boulevard for almost an hour before the parade started. There was a temporary set of bleachers for the crowd to sit or stand on at the corner of 23rd Street across from the announcer’s truck near the end of the parade route. Many of these people watch the parade every year, but it was Vicky Kennell’s first year attending the parade. Kennell said her daughter is a cadet in the Northridge High School Junior ROTC.
“My grandpa is a veteran, and my daughter and nieces are in the ROTC and are walking in it today,” Kennell said. “They said that this year was the biggest.”
Every branch of the U.S. military was represented in the parade. The Rocky Mountain Junior High Band marched in the parade, and the Riverdale City Band also played on a float near the end of the line. The parade is just one of the events scheduled for Veterans Day weekend this year. Today at 11 a.m. in the atrium of the Shepherd Union Building, an individual from the Veterans Affairs Office will read the names of all the Utah military casualties.