The Duncan Banner
At 90-years-old, Odell Hooper was this year’s Veterans Day parade marshal.
Hooper was also one of 100 parade entries in this year’s event, which last nearly an hour Saturday. Hooper, a World War II prisoner of war, was among the first entries to lead north on 11th Street from the Stephens County Courthouse. The parade route rounded Walnut before heading south on Seventh Street to Main.
Other entries in this year’s event highlighted the various veteran organizations, several Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups, Duncan Mayor Gene Brown, and Sen. Corey Brooks.
Brooks, a Navy veteran, said he was excited to take part in the parade and was glad to see a large number of people (both participating and spectating) turning out to support the veterans.
“I got the parade invite; being a veteran, I couldn’t pass it up,” Brooks said.
The largest crowd along the parade route was on Main Street between Seventh and 11th. But other groups gathered clusters along the entire parade route.
This year’s parade was a collaborative effort among local veterans groups, including Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1192, American Legion Post 55 and Disable American Veterans Chapter 92. The event promoted a support of all veterans instead of those in specific veteran groups.
Tom Morse, VFW Post 1192 commander, said the working relationship among the three organizations helped to bring more support to veterans. Morse said the large number of entries shows the increase in support for various war heroes.
“We will keep doing it as long as I’m around,” he said. “We’ve got to make it grow.”
And grow, it has.
Prior to the start of the parade, blocks around and near the Stephens County Courthouse were crowded with parade participants. Daniel Leal, parade coordinator, said this year’s parade was among the best.
Leal said everything came together. And the support of the community was a significant factor in how well this event went. Even the weather cooperated, providing warmer temperatures and clear skies, he said.
“We’ve been blessed with good weather the past few years,” Leal said.