The annual Veterans Day Parade, originally scheduled for Nov. 7, will not take place this year after the committee decided local COVID-19 cases were too high holding the event safely.
Pamela Smith-Wright, chairperson for the Owensboro-Daviess County Veterans Organizations Committee, said the decision wasn’t made lightly.
“We actually thought it would be safe to hold the event outside by then,” she said. “We’ve been trying to build our attendance for the parade. We thought if we told people to social distance and families to stick together, that’d be OK.”
But when the number of COVID-19 cases started to creep up and more events — such as the Christmas Parade and the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce’s “Red, White and Blue” — started to announce cancellations of their own, Smith-Wright said she and the rest of the veterans committee felt they couldn’t risk the health of those attending the Veterans Day Parade.
“We don’t want to be the group that causes any [increases in cases],” she said.
Smith-Wright said Owensboro-Daviess County’s first Veterans Day Parade — originally called the Liberty Parade — was held after World War I. The annual parade commemorating veterans for their military service has only been cancelled one other time prior to 2020.
With hopes that the coronavirus will be better controlled by next year, Smith-Wright said the committee plans to “get right back on schedule and continue” the parade in 2021.
In light of the event’s cancellation, Smith-Wright is asking the community to show their support for veterans in a different way this year.
“I would love for everyone who has a flag to fly their flags proudly on Veterans Day to show their patriotism,” she said. “If you’re going to the store, wear red, white and blue. If you have a red, white and blue face mask, wear that too. We’re one of the most patriotic cities in the state, and we really do care about our veterans. We’d like them to know how much we appreciate them.”