On November 11, 1918, the German Empire signed the armistice that ended World War I. Until 1954, the day was remembered as Armistice Day in memory of the toll taken to defeat the Kaiser and the Central Powers. For almost 70 years, the day has been expanded to remember all veterans.
In remembrance of all American veterans and also the sacrifice made to win World War I, the Shinnston Lions Club has since 2008 held its Veterans Day Parade at 11 AM on November 11th. The parade will be immediately followed by a free dinner at American Legion Post 31 in Shinnston.
The Lions Club works in conjunction with the American Legion to provide a fitting celebration and remembrance of especially local veterans. As David Minor, president of the Shinnston Lions Club explains, the organizations feature local veterans in the parade to make sure their contributions, stories, and military experience are remembered.
“Tom Jenkins (commandant of American Legion Post 31) has been a wonderful help,” Minor said, adding that “the ladies auxiliary fixes the meals and does a great job for us.”
One of the goals of Minor, the Lions, and the American Legion lies in making the parade as grand of a celebration as is possible. Minor shared that they had already selected parade marshals for the event.
Additionally, “we have the Legion Riders with their motorcycles every year. The Lincoln band has always been there.” He added that the JROTC also always participates, along with their families. Other organizations that usually join are the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and local churches.
“We’re all in it together,” Minor said, “we’re all in it for the same reasons.”
Minor explained that “I have found that the veterans parade is not an easy parade to put together,” but that every year the city turns out and lines the streets to watch. “We would appreciate any local businesses that would like to be in the parade,” he stated.
“Last year,” he shared, “ we had a wonderful parade. It rained a little bit, but the streets were completely full of people lining the sidewalk.” Sometimes, the unpredictability of November weather will cause some to wait until the last minute to decide on participation. Unless the weather makes it impossible to hold the event, Minor stated, “we’ll have it regardless.”
The Lions Club does not only work on the day of the parade. In the week leading up to the event, volunteers put up 120 American flags along the streets to further remind those who see them of the sacrifice made by servicemen in the cause of freedom.
Of the fun experienced during the parade and the Legion’s community dinner, Minor shared “It’s a real nice time to have.”