November 11 is a date that has been designated as Veteran's Day in the United States. It is a day that honors any veteran, deceased or living, who has served honorably in the military either in wartime or in peacetime.
Cleveland County honors local veterans on this holiday with a parade and service each year. The events are sponsored by the Cleveland County Veterans Service Office (CCVSO) and the Veterans Advisory Council.
"Veterans are important to all of us," says Debra Conn of the CCVSO. "They fought for our freedom, so we definitely want to recognize our veterans, and Veterans Day is the best place to start."
This year's activities will begin with the parade, which will get underway at 10 a.m. The parade route 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 theme of this year's parade is "Women in the Military," and the grand marshall will be a female veteran.
"The nominations for grand marshall came from women in local veteran service organizations and other groups," says Vallery McCoy, one of the event organizers.
Parade participants will include local veteran service organizations, local high school bands, the Civil Air Patrol color guard, high school ROTC color guards, law enforcement, county commissioners, emergency medical service personnel, local volunteer fire departments, the Mopar Car Club and individual veterans driving their own classic cars.
The Veterans Day Program will be held at 11 a.m. on the south lawn of the Earl Scruggs Center/Historic Court Square. The program's guest speaker will be Senator Ted Alexander.
"Senator Alexander is a great supporter of our military and is excited to be a part of the program this year," says McCoy.
The service will also feature music, a color guard, recognition of veterans and POWs, and the placing of wreaths.
In the event of rain, the parade will be canceled and the service will be moved to the Shelby City Park gymnasium.
Following the service, the American Legion Post 82, 1628 S. Lafayette St., is sponsoring a free lunch for veterans from noon - 2 p.m.
The parade and service are free and open to the public.
Nov. 6, 2019, is the deadline for receiving parade entry forms. For information regarding entry in the parade, call 704-435-1516 or email TVMustang68@bellsouth.net. Parade application forms may also be picked up at the Veterans Service Office located in the Cleveland County Administration Building, 311 E. Marion St. Shelby NC from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday.
By April Hoyle Shauf, Special to Community First Media