Durango holding Veterans Day parade Friday

Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 6:57 PM
Showing the colors of the day, members of the Bayfield American Legion Post wave American flags during the annual Veterans Day Parade down Main Avenue in 2011. The parade is planned for 11 a.m. Friday. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4031 is organizing the 16th annual parade. "It's veterans honoring veterans," said Terry Saxon with the VFW.

Bagpipes, the Miller Middle School Band and the Shriners will help honor veterans on Friday in the 16th annual Veterans Day Parade in Durango.

A clear morning is expected for the parade, just like years past, said parade organizer Terry Saxon, with the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

"It has never rained or snowed on the actual Veterans Day Parade. ... We're thinking somebody out there likes the parade," he joked.

Saxon, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, started the parade because Durango didn't have a formal Veterans Day celebration.

"This community wasn't recognizing her community veterans. There was nothing going on to celebrate veterans. ... That's why you get people out. The children learn a little bit about patriotism and community spirit," he said, of the parade.

This year the Durango Police Department will lead the parade, followed by color guard and veterans groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, and any other veterans who wish to walk in the parade.

Saxon expects a 45-minute parade, but the lineup isn't complete, and he is still accepting entrants.

Although some larger cities have moved their Veterans Day Parades to the nearest Sunday, Saxon doesn't see that in Durango's future.

"That would be like saying, 'Let's celebrate Christmas on the nearest Sunday,'" he said.

Saxon, 73, expects to organize the parade for the foreseeable future because he can't imagine not being involved in the community.

"It's nice to see one day a year the citizens turn out to honor the veterans," he said.

He walks in the parade as well - as part of the last entry carrying a shovel and a bucket, making sure the streets are clean after the horses make their appearance. His group always draws applause for cleaning the streets, he said, with a laugh.

Veterans Day events

At 11 a.m.: The Veterans Day parade will start at College Drive and Main Avenue. It will end at 12th Street.

At noon: The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 4031, 1550 Main Avenue, will have an open house.

At noon: The American Legion Post No. 28, 878 E Second Ave., will have an open house.

From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.: The Veterans Day Dance will be held at the VFW with music by Lisa Blue and her dance band. Admission is $20 per person, $10 per student and all veterans are free.

Closures: La Plata County and city of Durango offices will be closed in observance holiday.