The Sebastian/Crawford County Veterans Coalition Committee and Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority are seeing exponential growth of entries in the second annual Veterans Day Parade at Chaffee Crossing due to significant public participation. The parade will begin at 1:30pm on November 9, 2013, in the Chaffee Crossing Historic District, Fort Smith, Ark. More than 100 entries have been scheduled to date. All area veterans and the public are invited to attend the parade, appropriately located in the Chaffee Crossing Historic District that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority executive director, Ivy Owen, says he is amazed at the flood of phone calls his office is receiving daily about the parade. "We knew veterans and the public were happy about having the parade in the Chaffee Historic District last year, but the response this year has been overwhelming. Our phone has been ringing for weeks with inquiries about the parade. The veterans especially love it that the parade takes place on former military ground and public participation proves once again how much people in the River Valley love and respect veterans."
Veterans organizations from all branches of the military, area police, fire and county sheriff’s departments, school groups, civic organizations, car clubs and other community organizations are participating. To reduce traffic congestion, the public is encouraged to enter Chaffee Crossing from Zero St.,/Hwy. 22 and take Frontier Rd. to Taylor Ave. Volunteers and signs will direct traffic to parking areas. Handicap parking will be located in the Forsgren Construction parking lot, 7309 Terry St., north of the Chaffee Barbershop Museum.
The parade theme for 2013 is "Women in the Military". Grand Marshals of the parade include a female color guard representing all branches of the military and Sgt. Maj. Adna Romanza Chaffee, IV, grandson of Gen. Chaffee, the namesake of Fort Chaffee.
Parade Chairman Chris Remaley is thrilled with the increased level of interest. He says, "The parade committee hopes to see a huge public turnout to let our veterans know just how much we honor and respect them as a community. This is also the perfect opportunity to honor veterans for those who cannot attend the traditional Veterans Day ceremony at the National Cemetery on Nov 11. "
Festivities and patriotic performances by local singers are planned after the parade. These will all take place around the parking lot between the Chaffee Barbershop Museum (7313 Terry St., Fort Smith) and the new Museum of Chaffee History, Bldg. 805 and include:
• A ribbon cutting for the NEW Museum of Chaffee History
• The 188th FW will be honored for their 60th anniversary. Col. Mark Anderson will address guests and the 60th anniversary commemorative video will play continuously in the Barbershop Museum that afternoon
• Former Miss Arkansas and Fort Smith native Alyse Eady will perform the National Anthem.
The public is encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations for the Buddy Smith Home for Homeless Veterans. A collection box will be located at the Barbershop Museum. Multiple veteran service organizations are expected to set up information tables in the parking lot between the two museums. Representatives will be on hand to provide information about the organization and their functions.
Parade participants are asked to enter from Chad Colley and Roberts Blvd. to line up for the parade. Staging of entries will take place between 11:30am and 1:00pm. Signs will direct participants and spectators where to check in and park.
Applications to enter a float or groups to walk in the parade can be submitted online at www.chaffeecrossing.com, There is no entry fee to participate. Applications can also be picked up at area Chambers of Commerce in Fort Smith, Van Buren, Alma, Greenwood, Poteau and Sallisaw or downloaded from on the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/VeteransDayParadeAtChaffeeCrossing.