Everybody loves a parade, so the saying goes! So what could be a better way to honor area veterans than to celebrate their service with a parade? That was the thinking behind the Cleveland County Veterans Advisory Board's decision to begin sponsoring a parade on Veterans Day three years ago.
"Veterans are important to all of us," says Debra Conn of the Cleveland County Office of Veteran Services (CCOVS). "They fought for our freedom, so we definitely want to recognize our veterans, and Veterans Day is the best place to start."
So in addition to the Veterans Day service, which has been held for many years in uptown Shelby, in 2015 the CCOVS decided to add a parade to the day of celebration.
"Last year we had more than 65 entries," says Conn.
This year's parade and Veterans Day service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. Parade entries for 2018 include the marching band from Crest High School, as well as the Burns High School ROTC, elected officials, and a wide variety of veterans groups, such as the American Legion and the VFW. Grand Marshalls are Donald, Franklin and Sherrill Schenck. The Schenck brothers served in Vietnam along with a fourth brother who passed away earlier this year.
"We will also have the Old School New School Auto Club and several other civic organizations," says Conn.
The parade will get underway at 10 a.m. with a new route this year. It will begin on South Washington Street near the Don Gibson Theatre and will continue northbound to Marion Street, where it will turn west, ending at the Shelby City Pavilion, 126 W. Marion St.
The Veterans Day service will begin at 11 a.m. on the Marion Street side of the Shelby court square. The service will feature music, a color guard, and keynote speaker Dr. Rit Varriale, pastor of Shelby's Elizabeth Baptist Church. The program will end with a 21-Gun Salute and "Taps."
Anyone wishing to participate in the parade needs to register by Nov. 5 by calling 704-435-1516 or by emailing
By April Hoyle Shauf, Special to Community First Media