This is the fourth year for the Philadelphia Veterans Day Parade, Anthony Murphy who is the president of the Veterans Parade executive board talks about the history of the parade, the services it offers and the how the community can help our country’s veterans and active service men and women.
The Philadelphia Veterans Day Parade is here
Anything new for the Philadelphia Veterans Day parade this year?
Anthony Murphy: There are a few new pieces in the parade this year; we have the Tian Guo 170 piece band plus the Valley Forge Military Academy Marching Band will be in the parade this year. Also, some of the American Legion posts are bringing bands with them, so it’s different, it’s grown.
Anything special in the parade to look out for in particular?
Anthony Murphy: If its a very nice day we will have parachuters come from the sky during the opening ceremony and singing the National Anthem and we have a young man who’s going to play the trumpet. We also have as a special note, a Montford Point Marine named Albert Willis, and he will be our Grand Marshall, Willis is 96 years old, and he’s still going. The Montford Point Marines were the first Black marines in the U.S. Military. They had to build their own training base because at the time Black men were not allowed to be in the marines; so they built it and then trained and then went into battle and earned the right to be marines. Plus we have the actual active military personnel that’s also marching in the parade, and they will have an army drill team.
What can you tell me about the Festival that is happening during the Veterans Day Parade?
Anthony Murphy: The Festival features veteran service organizations, we believe in veterans helping veterans, and therefore we want to make sure that veterans and veterans families and the community of Philadelphia are aware of all these services that veterans can receive, and should be received. So we are providing information, we are also providing some other activities where veterans can get free haircuts, and some of the female veterans can also have some other assistance provided to them, and we make sure we address the female veterans and not just males. We will also have a ceremony where we will be presenting a wreath, and we will also have a letter writing campaign where people can actually write letters to servicemen that will be given to an organization that sends them out. I mean its the time of the year when even though you’re away you still need that home contact, and we want to try and provide that, we are also providing thank you letters too. Within the festival, there will also be entertainment and a beer garden, but it’s all still focused on trying to make sure we address the needs of the veterans and the veterans families and our veterans community.
What else should the people of Philadelphia know about the parade?
Anthony Murphy: Comcast has been and still is a principal instrument for the parade and making it happen. The Philadelphia Veterans Parade Inc. is dedicated to veterans and doing the very best for veterans, and although the Philadelphia Veterans Day Parade may not be number one this year it’s fastly becoming one of the better veteran’s parades in the country, and we want to make it the best. So we need the community of Philadelphia to come out and support and salute our veterans and our active service men and women.