By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Veterans Day was a gorgeous, sunny day in Shinnston! Being a legal holiday, there was no school and many businesses were closed – a time when people could have caught a few extra hours’ sleep or tackled some seasonal projects at home. But the turnout for the local parade was phenomenal … as was the participation.
The parade, a project undertaken annually by the Shinnston Lions Club, was a tremendous success. Everyone seemed to lay aside the recent election results and join together as AMERICANS with a single goal – to honor local veterans and applaud them for their military service.
It was also a day for special deeds. For example, the Shinnston Lions Club distributed flags to parade spectators; The News & Journal and Ace Hardware of Shinnston, in a joint effort, prepared and circulated signs to parade spectators recognizing the sacrifices offered by all veterans; McDonald’s in Shinnston gave free breakfasts to veterans; Perine Funeral Home offered free cookies and hot chocolate to parade attendees; and All Seasons Florist generously handed out bouquets of roses to veterans and their families who attended and/or participated in the parade. There were many gestures of kindness, all extended with goodwill and thanks.
Participation included youth from local scout troops, the Shinnston Tornadoes 4-H Club, Big Elm Elementary School, the LHS Marching Band, the Cougar football team, Veteran cyclists, World War II veterans, politicians, local fire departments, and more!
The luncheon served at the American Legion immediately following the parade was another “packed house”. As always, the Bice-Ferguson Museum presented a wonderful program and each of the veteran parade marshals offered very moving comments about their service time.
Shinnston Lions Club president David Minor noted, “Several Lions Club members and I were involved with the lineup on old high school hill, and we could see the tremendous number of spectators lining Pike Street. It was a sight to see! We are so proud to sponsor this event to recognize our local veterans and we know how much they appreciated the turnout. We also had more community involvement this year, and when others get involved in making it a success, we can’t go wrong. We’d like to thank everyone who participated and everyone who attended the Veterans Day activities in Shinnston. It was well worth our efforts. We were also blessed with a beautiful day, which helped; but in looking back, I don’t think we’ve ever had to cancel due to weather-related issues. Maybe it is not a coincidence that our veterans are truly smiled upon!”
Both prior to and following the parade, the comment was heard numerous times – “THIS is why we wouldn’t live anywhere but in Shinnston”!