OGDEN — Ogden’s annual Veterans Day Parade was in serious jeopardy this year after the organization that normally hosts it backed out, but thanks to some other local veterans groups, the show will go on.
This year’s parade will be held on Saturday, Nov. 8 at 11:11 a.m., coinciding with the signing of the World War I Armistice at 11:11 a.m. on Nov. 11 in 1918. Staging for the event will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of 31st Street and Washington Boulevard. The parade course will run north on Washington, then head west on 25th Street to Grant Avenue, then head south and dissolve.
The 2014 parade was in question earlier this year when the Ogden’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post, the group that has traditionally organized the event, voted to not host it.
“I probably had 50 different people call me asking about what was going on with the parade this year,” said Ogden resident Dennis Howland, president of the Northern Utah chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, one of the organizations that is stepping in to host this year’s parade. “When (the VFW voted not to host the parade), we felt like we couldn’t just say, ‘OK, I guess that’s it.’ We felt like it needed to continue.”
The Ogden Fleet Reserve Association is also helping run this year’s parade.
The parade was revived by the Ogden VFW in 2006, after members realized that the city hadn’t seen a Veterans Day parade for about 50 years.
Veterans Day was called Armistice Day following the signing, on Nov. 11, 1918, of the official end of combat in World War I. After subsequent wars, it was renamed Veterans Day to honor the veterans of all of America’s wars. Ogden saw Armistice Day/Veterans Day parades regularly until the mid-1950s, but the celebrations abruptly stopped.
Howland was part of the original group that began making the parade an annual tradition again.
“When we started having the parade again, people were genuinely excited about it,” he said. “Not just veterans, but anyone who recognizes what (veterans) have done for our country.”
Howland said there is no fee to enter the parade, but it does come with some expense. He said organizers are accepting donations to help cover costs, which will be presented to Ogden City.
“They provide the city streets and they provide the traffic control and have police on duty, so we want to help defray some of their cost,” Howland said.
Past parades have had as many as 2,400 participants and more than 75 entries. Howland said that despite the loss of its original organizer, the anticipation is that the parade will continue into the future and grow in size.
“Next year we’re going to get more veterans groups involved earlier,” he said. “I think the demand for the parade is there, so it should continue.”
For information on how to enter the parade, donate to it or nominate a grand marshal, contact Howland at 801-389-1893 and firstname.lastname@example.org or Robert Porter at 801-393-3461 and email@example.com.