Parade, program highlights Veterans Day
by Danny Wade
Humboldt rolled out the red carpet for area veterans last Thursday with a parade and a special program, honoring them for their service to their country. Main Street was briefly closed at 10 a.m. for the parade, which began near the fire station and ended at Central Ave.
The Humboldt Police Department escorted parade participants as Humboldt Jr./Sr. High School band led the way, marching and performing. Close behind were a couple of members of the local Girl Scout troop, along with troop leader, Katrina Smith.
A small group of veterans walked the parade route as others rode in vehicles and waved to the spectators. Humboldt Area Rescue Squad showed their support of the veterans, riding in the parade with their lights flashing.
Once the parade participants got to Central Ave., everyone gathered inside Magnolia Manor for the program. Owners Lee and Lynn Sands graciously offered the use of their facility for the honorable program.
Local historian and library director, John Blankenship, was emcee for the event. Blankenship said the Humboldt Exchange Club put together the Veterans Day program. Exchange President Elna Blankenship spearheaded the event and worked hard to make sure Humboldt’s veterans were honored for their service to their country and her people. Unfortunately, Blankenship was unable to attend the parade and program that she worked so diligently coordinating.
As the program began, the band played the Star Spangled Banner. Blankenship welcomed the group of veterans, family and friends to the event. He asked all the veterans to stand and be recognized. This brought a huge round of applause as everyone showed their respect and honored those who served the country.
Rev. Mark Hodge spoke briefly about the commitment the veterans played in protecting our freedom. He talked about it being a cloudy, dreary day but above those clouds, the sun was shining brightly. Hodge then offered a heart-felt prayer.
Humboldt baritone Jesse Yarbrough sang the National Anthem followed by troop leader Smith reciting a patriotic poem she wrote especially for the Veterans Day program. Two of her girl scouts troop members, Alejandra Niño and Tamsin Ridgeway, led the audience saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
Three HJSHS students, Terrence Taylor, Ahani Martinez and Gage Miller, took the stage and told the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, word by word, phrase by phrase. This reading was penned by the late comedian Red Skelton from the early 1960s.
Mayor Marvin Sikes spoke to the crowd. He thanked all the veterans attending the program for serving their country and fighting for the freedoms the citizens of the United States enjoy every day. Mayor Sikes urged the young people attending the program to visit the memorial on the corner of Main Street and 17th Ave. at the Humboldt Higher Education Center. A granite memorial is engraved with the names of Humboldt area men and women who lost their lives while defending their country in times of war. One family in particular lost three sons to war, one in WWI and the other two at Pearl Harbor, Sikes said.
The program was closed with an instrumental version of “Amazing Grace”.
After the program was over, several veterans gathered on the steps of Magnolia Manor for photo opps as family and friends cheered them on.
Patriotism, pride, honor, recognition and thankfulness were just a few of the feelings and emotions of the day’s event. Humboldt veterans were the recipients of the love and the earned respect as the community commemorated Veterans Day.