Downtown parade to mark Veterans Day

For more than a decade, the numbers “9/11” have carried special emotional resonance for Americans. But to past and present U.S. service members, 11/11 evokes strong memories, too.

It was Nov. 11, 1919 – exactly one year after World War I soldiers laid down their arms – that President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day in 1954, and Nov. 11 remains a time to “thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime,” according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is not to be confused with Memorial Day, which specifically honors soldiers who died in combat.

Durango’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4031, in conjunction with the American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America, will hold its annual Veterans Day Parade at 1 p.m. Sunday. There are 24 entrants this year, including the Durango High School marching band, units from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, 4-H and the Al Kaly Temple Tin Lizzies in their unmistakable miniature cars.

Bill Morris, commander of VFW Post No. 4031, said normally, the parade begins promptly at 11 a.m., but it will be delayed this year to accommodate those attending morning church services.

Entrants will assemble at the intersection of Main Avenue and College Drive, and continue north until 12th Street.

An open house – with food and refreshments – will follow the parade at the VFW post at 1550 Main Ave.

“We are honoring the ones who have served, and are serving, our nation and giving us the freedoms we enjoy,” Morris said.

If forecasts are accurate, the parade will be a brisk affair. The National Weather Service is predicting temperatures below freezing Sunday, with a 40 percent chance of snow showers. Morris was undaunted by inclement weather.

“Rain or shine, snow or sleet, we will be out there,” he said.

In Ignacio, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe is also recognizing veterans in its own way. Coordinator Lynda Grove-D’Wolf said the Sun Ute Casino Resort is hosting gourd dancing from noon-5 p.m. today, followed by dinner and a powwow at 7 p.m. All festivities are open to the public.

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