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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/MIKE ECKELS Lauro Molina (left) leads the Decatur High School Marching band through downtown Decatur Nov. 3 during the fourth annual Veterans Day Parade in Decatur.

DECATUR -- On Sunday, Nov. 11, this nation will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the beginning of Veterans Day. The city of Decatur and the Decatur Veterans Committee began its celebration a week early with the fourth annual Veterans Day Parade through downtown Decatur and a ceremony at Veterans Park in Decatur on Saturday.

The parade began at 3 p.m. from the car wash parking lot on Third and Main Streets in Decatur. From there it made its way downtown to Veterans Park.

Leading the parade was the Decatur High School marching band under the direction of drum major Lauro Molina. Following the band was a float carrying veterans from Decatur, Gravette, Gentry and the surrounding area. They were followed by a second float containing members of Decatur's Howard-Parrish Chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 9834.

U.S. Congressman Steve Womack, the event's honorary guest, drove a vintage Vietnam area M-151A1 jeep in the parade. He and a few of his staff members handed out sunglasses and candy to each of the 100-plus spectators gathered along the route.

Sixteen motorcycles and trikes, followed by four vintage cars, the Benton County Sheriff's Office Swat/Rescue vehicle and a dump truck from Neosho, Mo., brought up the rear.

Shortly after the parade arrived at Veterans Park, the ceremony began with the posting of the Colors (American flag) by the American Legion Post 29 Honor Guard. The Decatur High School band performed the National Anthem, followed by the pledge of allegiance.

In addition to the band, the Decatur High School choir, along with the Faith and Freedom Bluegrass trio and the Northside Elementary children's choir, provided the patriotic music for this year's event.

Congressman Womack and Decatur Mayor Bob Tharp dedicated the new Decatur Centennial Tree and monument. The 14-foot evergreen tree, a Green Giant, was planted by the city of Decatur and the Decatur Veterans Committee as part of Governor Asa Hutchinson's centennial commemoration program marking the end of World War I. Woodman Life's Fayetteville Chapter sponsored the monument, which was placed in front of the tree.

Tharp concluded the event by recognizing past and present Veterans Committee members. The list included Rob Hopkins (committee chairman), Jean Johnson, Toby Conrad, JP Bob Bland, Doug Florer, Fay Gilbert, Clint Gilbert, Matt McClain, Terry Luker, Mike Eckels and Reuben Barnes.

This year's Veterans Day Parade was the longest to date, while the ceremony saw one of the biggest shows of support for the nation's veterans since the event began.

Note: Decatur High School will hold its annual Veterans Day assembly at 9:30 a.m., Nov. 8, at Peterson Gym in Decatur. Toby Conrad, high school principal, would like to have at least 100 area veterans attend this year's event.

General News on 11/07/2018

Print Headline: Congressman Womack helps dedicate tree during Decatur Veterans Day celebration

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