Tomorrow's Tamaqua Veterans Day Parade will be held a little differently than in prior years.
"In past years, so few people watch or participate in our Tamaqua American Legion Annual Veterans Day Parade," said Andrew Leibenguth, parade coordinator and Tamaqua American Legion historian. "During tomorrow's parade, everybody is encouraged to walk or march side by side with veterans," added Leibenguth, an Iraq war veteran.
The Tamaqua Veterans Day Parade is always held on Veterans Day or the Saturday before Veterans Day, Nov. 11, a federal holiday officially honoring military veterans. It is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, when major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the eleventh hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.
The Grand Marshal of the parade will be Edward J. Bachert, 95, of Tamaqua, who served in the United States Marine Corps from 1942-1945, serving as a machine-gunner in the 3rd Marine Division, 21st Marines.
"I'm tired of seeing only a handful of parade spectators at each Veterans Day Parade," Leibenguth added, "while thousands watch and participate in the Halloween Parade. That needs to change!"
"Children should be brought up to show support for veterans by having them stand along the streets in honor of living and deceased veterans," Joel Perry, commander, Tamaqua American Legion, said.
No registration is required to walk, march or participate in the parade, which kicks off 10 a.m. at the old Maff Motors, 900 E. Broad St. Parade formation is from 9-9:45 a.m. The parade will then continue down Broad Street and end at the bottom of Stadium Hill, S. Lehigh St.
Following the parade, all veterans are encouraged to stop in the Legion, 206 W. Broad St., for free hot dogs and bean soup.
"Our Legion hosts this parade every year," said Ed Smith, Tamaqua American Legion member, "with continued support from local fire companies, bands, and local military organizations."
"It only takes a few minutes of your time to honor those men and women who have dedicated their lives to this country," Leibenguth said.