Clarksville, TN – Clarksville’s 2019 Veterans Day Parade was even bigger than usual as it was merged with the Austin Peay State University (APSU) annual Homecoming Parade, an occurrence that happens once every five years.
Thousands, who gathered on the streets of Downtown Clarksville Saturday morning to celebrate, were treated to approximately 150 parade entries, ranging from APSU’s Homecoming Court to Veterans groups, First Responders, marching band and more.
Montgomery County Veterans Services Organization Director Andrew Kester opened the annual Veterans Day Ceremony on the steps of the Courthouse, welcoming parade-goers. He was followed by the 101st Airborne Division Honor Guard’s posting of colors, and a performance of the National Anthem by Stella McKnight with Clarksville High School’s Carnival & Encore Choirs.
Bishop Calvin Lockett delivered the invocation, followed by remarks from Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett and Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts.
This year’s Guest Speaker and Veterans Day Parade Marshal was Colonel (Ret.) Rob Salome. He focused his thoughts on remembering our Veterans, but also paying tribute to the many Veteran’s Service Organizations that support our soldiers and their families.
Salome recognized the American Red Cross, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Veterans, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Operation Stand Down, saying, “That’s just to name a few. These organizations help us to not get lost, to not forget, and to not lose sight of the culture that became central to who we are. The experiences we gained in serving our nation, serving others, and serving one-another, have created a magnetic draw, and a passion to support each other.”
Salome continued, “As we enjoy this parade today and the joy it brings, look around to your neighbors, find a Veteran and thank them, not just for their past service, but for the service so many of them continue to provide to our community. He closed with, “Thank you to the many Veterans Service Organizations that support our Veterans. God bless our Veterans, our families, and God bless America.”
Then, Salome, accompanied by Mayors Pitts and Durrett took part in the Laying of the Wreath ceremony. The three saluted the wreath, which honors America’s Veterans, while a bugler from the 101st Airborne Division Band played Taps.
After closing remarks by Mayor Durrett, CHS Musical Director, Stella Knight and the CHS choirs performed a set-list of patriotic tunes until the parade officially began.