By Thomas Sellers Jr.
For decades personnel from NSA Mid-South and several retired veterans left their Millington homes to travel north to Covington or south to Memphis to participate in Veteran’s Day parades.
This year those who are currently servicing can join retired veterans who call Flag City home for a parade in their own backyard.
On Nov. 8, the city of Millington along with VFW Post 7175 will conduct the 2014 Millington Veterans’ Parade starting at 9 a.m.
“The way I understand it, the last parade for veterans was back in ‘82,” Post 7175 Commander Ken O’Connor said. “It’s been about 32 years.
“Katie Armitage (city of Millington), Bill Maillet and myself were at a function on Base,” he continued. “And Bill brought it up to her and it all got started. We’ve been going with it for like 5 months now. In the beginning it was like, ‘Will it be there?’ We’ve had many of meeting here and it’s really gone to where I believe Millington is going to be really surprised.”
The parade will start at Highway 51 and go down Navy Road. And it will conclude at C Street. Participants will start lining up at 8 a.m. that Saturday featuring Combat Veterans Motorcycles, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fleet Reserve Association, DAV, American Legion and Millington Central High School NJROTC holding all service flags.
Also a part of the festivities will be floats with disabled veterans, city of Millington employees who are veterans on a trolley, classic war vehicles from Atoka, convertibles driving dignitaries through the route and recognition of past post commanders and past state commanders.
Current commander O’Conner was in the Navy from 1969-1996. He served in the Vietnam War, Beirut Crisis and Desert Storm. As a longtime member of the VFW Post 7175, O’Connor and fellow members always wonder why Millington didn’t have a Veteran’s Day parade.
“Long overdue,” he said. “Why doesn’t it happen? As long as I’ve known it and lived here, I would venture to say Millington is more retired military than actual none military. People loved the community when they were stationed here years ago. And they retired here.
“You look at Covington, it does a parade,” O’Connor continued. “Munford does a parade. Memphis does a parade. We just kept on asking, ‘Why, why, why?’ Now we’ve put our foot forward in the right direction. We hope to definitely make this a tradition.”
O’Connor said everyone is invited to participate in the parade with pre-registration. And the public is encouraged to come out from across West Tennessee to recognize and pay tribute to veterans in a town many of them call home.
“I can meet my own comrades in my own neighborhood now and celebrate Veteran’s Day,” O’Connor concluded. “It means a whole lot to us. Why would you travel to celebrate Veteran’s Day if you can’t do it in your own community.”
The VFW Post 7175 will host a Community Cookout following the parade from noon to 2 p.m. at the Millington VFW Post 7175 at 4681 Cuba Millington Road. For more information on the parade, cookout and registration, call 873-5770.