City to host inaugural Arlington Heroes Parade Saturday
The parade will be the culmination of a week-long series of events to help celebrate Veterans Day
A year-long dream from a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran will be coming to fruition Saturday afternoon in Downtown Arlington.
The inaugural Arlington Heroes Parade – the brainchild of Arlington Heroes Parade committee director Chris Pettitt – will take place at 1 p.m. next Saturday, Veterans Day, to honor Arlington’s veterans, active military members and first responders.
Pettitt, who has been working on organizing the parade since last year, is hoping the event will become an annual Veterans Day celebration, and raise awareness about the many organizations available to support Arlington's community heroes and their families.
“I want to give a big Arlington salute to our heroes because Arlington cares and appreciates the impact their husbands, wives and children have on our community,” Pettitt said. “This parade is a big thank you.”
The Arlington Heroes Parade is expected to feature floats, vintage cars, firefighters, police officers, veterans, active duty military members, and organizations focused on supporting military and first responders.
Pettitt said every time he mentioned wanting to see a Veterans Day parade in Arlington, he was almost always greeted by the same response: “Don’t we already have one?”.
To remedy that situation, Pettitt took some time while volunteering with Arlington’s Holiday Lights Parade to consult with Elle Stubbs, the Arlington Christmas Parade Inc. board director, on how to approach organizing a similar parade for Veterans Day.
Stubbs’ response was short and to the point.
“I’ll do you one better; I’ll help you get it going,” she told Pettitt, before accepting a role as co-organizer of the Arlington Heroes Parade.
One of the first tasks they had to take on was finding a grand marshal for the parade, but they didn’t have to look very far to select one.
The grand marshal for the inaugural parade will be Taya Kyle, the widow of late U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and author of her New York Times best-selling memoir American Wife.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the inaugural Arlington Heroes Parade and to use this day to celebrate the anniversary of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation,” said Kyle, who runs the foundation named after her husband.
Shellie Palmore-Guedry, local and national commander for the Navy Mother’s Club of America, said she is ecstatic about participating in the parade.
The Navy Mother’s Club of America’s parade float will feature patriotic colors and poster pictures of their members’ sons and daughters that are active or served in the military.
“We anticipate large crowds and hope this parade will give us exposure and help grow our club so that we can continue to do more for our troops, veterans and local charities,” Palmore-Guedry said.
The Arlington Heroes Parade route will run east on Abram Street near Cooper Street and then turn south on Mary Street to Border Street/UTA Boulevard. From Border/UTA Boulevard, the parade will briefly jog north on Center Street and then turn west onto South Street.
The parade will end its circuitous route around Downtown at the UTA Social Work Building parking lot near Cooper Street.
The parade will culminate a week-long Veterans Day celebration that began last Saturday with the second annual Veteran Round Up, hosted by VetStarts.
On Monday, the Chris Kyle Legendary Classic golf tournament is being held at Tierra Verde Golf Club in Arlington. The tournament is a benefit for the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.
The sixth annual Hiring Red, White and You job fair will be held Thursday at Globe Life Park. A Veterans Day Commemorative Ceremony will then be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Veterans Park Memorial, located at 3600 W. Arkansas Lane.
Finally, prior to the parade, the inaugural Arlington Heroes Run will be held at 8:30 a.m. at Veterans Park.