10/27/13 — Veterans Parade entries sought

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Veterans Parade entries sought

By From staff reports
Published in News on October 27, 2013 1:50 AM

Hugh Howard

The Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition is looking for entries for its Veterans Day Parade.

The event, which honors those who have served or are serving in the military, will be Nov. 11.

"We have 22,000 veterans in Wayne County. But only about 13,000 are registered with the VA (Veterans Administration)," said Bill Graham, president of the Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition. "We have a lot of veterans who don't really consider themselves veterans because they served a short time or didn't serve in combat.

"Being a veteran is a lot more than being a combat veteran, and we try to do this to honor to all our veterans."

Those who wish to participate in the parade must first fill out an application. Applications are available at the Veterans Services Office on Ash Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday or at the Disabled American Veterans building at 212 Mulberry in Goldsboro.

There is no charge to participate in the parade, but there are some rules for those who want to take part in this tribute to the nation's heroes -- the biggest of which is that all entries must honor the veterans.

"It's open," Graham said. "We really would like for everybody to have a patriotic display, but we are open to car clubs, motorcycle clubs, church groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts -- the gambit of anybody who wants to honor our veterans."

And while he also would like people interested in participating to fill out their applications by Nov. 7 so he can set the parade lineup, he did say he could take them a day or two later.

Those wishing to participate in the parade are asked to line up by 9:30 a.m. Nov. 11 in downtown Goldsboro. The march begins at 11 a.m.

However, the gathering is more than just a chance to wave flags and say thank you to those men and women who have fought -- and those who currently wear their nation's uniform.

It also will provide those who attend with a rare chance to share a moment with someone who is considered, by many in Wayne, a living legend.

Hugh Howard, a World War II veteran and former prisoner of war, has been named the parade's grand marshal.

Howard, 89, was just two days shy of his 22nd birthday when the B-17 on which he was a gunner was shot down over Germany in 1944. He spent seven months in a POW camp, before being liberated by U.S. forces on April 29, 1945.

A native of Davie County, Howard served in World War II and the Korean Conflict, retiring after 30 years in the Air Force.