This Sunday marks a special occasion for the city of Philadelphia. The 5th Annual Veteran’s Day Parade and Festival kicks off at 12 pm, and this year more than 150 organizations spanning over 7,000 participants and 21 Veteran Service Organizations are participating to make it the most memorable occasion yet.
The 2019 Philadelphia Veteran’s Day Parade and Vet Fest is this weekend
“What I want people to do is look for the veterans,” says Anthony Murphy, President of the Veteran’s Parade executive board. “Veterans are an intricate part of the freedoms that we enjoy. Without them, we wouldn’t have anything. [In the parade] we have veterans from World War II and all of the other conflicts and wars. We also have a 99-year-old veteran who is going to be riding in a corvette, and our Grand Marshall this year is a 96-year-old vet—he truly exemplifies someone who fought for this country to be.”
Murphy has been with the parade since the very beginning, and he says the most important takeaway from this meaningful event should be the fact that we are among many unsung heroes. It’s time to show them the appreciation they so rightfully deserve.
“We have representatives from the Montford Point Marines, most people won’t know who they are, but they were the first black marines in our army,” says Murphy. “So there are a lot of unique things about veterans that people don’t know. If you look for those things in the parade it’ll be an enlightenment. You’ve seen movies about different subjects, but you’ve probably seen nothing about the Montford Point Marines. You’ve seen things about Vietnam, but you have really not taken the opportunity to look at the Vietnam veterans and realize they carry scars for us. So that’s what I want people to see.”
According to the release, the parade route will begin at JFK Blvd and North 16th Street with a brigade of over 250 motorcyclists and continue around City Hall, heading east on Market Street and concluding at North 5th Street where the Veterans Festival will take place. Simultaneous to the parade’s kickoff, a paratrooper will make a dramatic coordinated jump and descend onto the Independence Mall landing approximately at 12:30 pm.
Philadelphians are encouraged to come out and support the vets and participants of the parade, but they are also encouraged to check out the Veteran’s Day Parade Festival starting at 12 pm and continuing on until 4 pm in between 4th and 5th streets on Market Street. Vet Fest will feature plenty of fun activities, but also plenty of opportunities and information on services that are being offered for veterans and their families as well.
“There are many services that people don’t know about, that’s why we have the festival. It’s something that is for the entire family and also for the entire community. Inside the festival this year, we have more youth-friendly activities for the children as well,” says Murphy. “We also have the Phillie Phanatic coming this year too, and the Wells Fargo Stagecoach which you will be able to get on and take pictures— there will be lots of fun activities like that.”
Vet Fest will also feature live performances, tasty treats from a variety of food trucks, a beer garden, face painting, a rock-climbing wall, plus a large projector screen to play the Eagles game at 1 pm.
According to the release, in addition to the celebration, veterans will be honored with a wreath-laying ceremony, a letter-writing and hand-painted flags station to send to active-duty service members, and a tree donation and planting from the Primex Garden Center.
“When people put their lives on the line for you, you can’t ever say thank you enough. Coming out to observe the parade, clapping for them and showing them that you care about what they did and that you appreciate what they did is a reason to come out to the parade,” says Murphy. “They deserve our appreciation, and they deserve people to come out and say thank you.”
For more information on the Veteran’s Day Parade and Vet Fest visit phillyveteransparade.org