Leavenworth County Veterans Day Parade

Buffalo Soldiers

The Leavenworth Times first received word of Allies and Central Powers signing the Armistice at 4am, November 11, 1918. Then all of a sudden a bedlam of whistles, bells and shots ruined all thought of sleep in Leavenworth and the wildest celebration in the city ever has known was underway.

Leavenworth Mayor John C. Seitz declared a holiday as soon as he received word of the Armistice and by noon every business house in the city was closed and all employees were parading in the streets, shouting, blowing horns, screaming, throwing confetti and otherwise giving vent to the emotion brought on by the word of “world peace.”

The First Armistice Day

(Taken from the Leavenworth Times November 12, 1918)

“Leavenworth went wild. Following the flash of glorious peace news and victory to Allied arms that arrived early yesterday morning, crowds of screaming, noise making, confetti-throwing, and gloriously happy people representing all ages from small children to gray-haired men and aged women, thronged the downtown streets from early in the morning until midnight. Never before in the history of the town has such a celebration been held, for everyone was thinking of a son, brother or other relative ‘over there’ whose task was finished and soon would be starting back.”

President Woodrow W. Wilson’s proclamation stated: “The armistice was signed this morning. Everything which America has fought for has been accomplished. It will now be our fortunate duty to assist by sober, friendly counsel and by material aid in the establishment of democracy throughout the world.”

Armistice Day was first commemorated in the United States by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, and many states made it a legal holiday.


Military Band

Through The Years:

11 Nov 1919 - On Tuesday, November 11, 1919, the headlines in the Times read – “Business Will Be Suspended In City Today, All To Join In The Welcome Home Celebration”, and that was the start of the nation’s oldest Veterans Day observance, the Leavenworth County Veterans Day Parade.

The first parade/observance was on November 11, 1919, organized by Leavenworth business owner William Small of the William Small and Company Dry Goods. All businesses including banks were closed, as well as all public schools. All downtown store front windows displayed patriotic themes and were kept covered until 11a.m. when they were unveiled and judged. The Hines Band gave a concert at Fourth and Delaware Streets, community singing and athletic contests took place until 2:20p.m., when the automobiles and civic organizations began a line of parade from the court house.

11 Nov 1920 - Beginning in 1920 and for the next 43 years, American Legion Byron H. Mehl Post 23 sponsored the Armistice Day Parade. The observance consisted of an afternoon parade, patriotic window contests, banquet and dance.

11 Nov 1921 - The 1921, Leavenworth observance included Mass and Union Services and Catholic and Baptists churches. The cathedral chimes rang from 11:45am to 12pm and all local stores closed at noon on that November 11. The parade began at 2pm. The entire community was invited the Turner Hall for a banquet sponsored by the Women’s Auxiliary of the Legion. A dance was scheduled later that evening at the Sales Pavilion on Delaware street. The employees of the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company paid tribute this way: from 11am to 11:02am, all employees paused in silent tribute to their fellow employees who lost their lives in the World War. For two minutes after the hour of 11 that morning, all Bell lines went silent. The 12,000 operators in the five states compromising this system ceased work along with the hundreds of men in the offices, out on the lines and in the plants. From the Southwestern Bell Company comprising the states of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas, a total of 1289 telephone employees entered the military service; but only 14 made the supreme sacrifice.

The 1921, 2pm, parade consisted of four sections, started at second and Pottawatomie streets and included: the USDB band, officers of Fort Leavenworth, American Legion members, World War veterans, Spanish-American veterans, mounted detachments, Federal prison guards, Eagles drill team, Soldiers’ Home band, high school cadets, city and county officials, Women’s Relief Corps, grade school children, and many decorated cars and floats.

11 Nov 1922 - A street carnival and masked ball was added to the observance along with the Armistice Parade which began at 2:30pm and now starting from court house. All businesses closed before parade and reopened after.

11 Nov 1923 – There was no parade but all businesses closed at noon and churches had Mass Union Services in observance of Armistice Day.

11 Nov 1924 – The Leavenworth Times reads, “Armistice Day Is Observed in Quite Manner.” Churches were filled with many attending masses and other services giving thanks that their loved ones came back on that Armistice Day.

11 Nov 1925 – There was no parade but banks closed; businesses and schools remained opened. Armistice Day observance in Leavenworth consisted of church masses and services.

11 Nov 1926 - Congress passed a resolution in 1926 inviting all Americans to observe the day. 11 Nov 1926 – The parade was brief in Leavenworth due to President Coolidge being in Kansas City to dedicate the Liberty Memorial. The American Legion Byron H. Mehl Post 23 and the Leavenworth High School ROTC were only line of parade participants at 9:15am that morning. All offices at Fort Leavenworth, city and county offices, banks, and schools were closed; department stores remained opened.

10 Nov 1927 - The Leavenworth Junior High held a special Armistice Day observance.
All businesses and schools were closed. The Armistice Day Parade had a very large military turnout. It was the largest Armistice Day Parade in years. Stores closed at 11am and reopened at 1pm.

11 Nov 1928 – This was the 10th Anniversary of Armistice. Many churches throughout the city had observances that Sunday. On Monday the parade was the largest to date.

11 Nov 1929 – There was no parade but a joint Armistice Day observance between Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties was held at Victory Junction, more than 2,000 people attended. This observance had many speakers including General Wilder Metcalf, and U.S. Commissioner Lee Bond. A WWI Memorial, the “Doughboy” statue, was dedicated in the triangle at the highway junction. The observance which started at 1:30pm., consisted of:
- Music by the CGSC band
- Invocation by Legion Chaplain
- Introduction of Leavenworth & Wyandotte county boards
- Doughboy Statue dedication
- Speeches
- National Anthem
- Benediction by Wyandotte Legion Chaplain
- Firing Squad/Taps
- 3pm football game: Abeles Field, Leavenworth High School and Benton High School (St. Joe, Mo), Leavenworth High School ROTC stage a battalion parade during halftime.

11 Nov 1930 - The Armistice Day observance included a large parade at 1:15pm. A program was done for veterans at the Soldiers Home after parade. American Legion auxiliaries came from around the state to distribute apples and popcorn at the Soldiers Home. The observance culminated with a football game at Abeles Field – Leavenworth High School and Shawnee Mission II.

11 Nov 1931 – There was no Armistice Day Parade due to heavy rains that morning. A football games was still played that afternoon between Leavenworth High School and Liberty, MO. American Legion Auxiliary Post 23 sponsored and dinner and dance that evening for the community.

11 Nov 1932 – American Legion Byron H. Mehl Post 23 coordinated the Armistice Day observance which included an American Legion membership drive at Sickle Furniture Store in the morning, a football game between Leavenworth High School and DeSoto at 2:30pm, the parade at 7:30pm and ending with a dance at Turner Hall (American Legion Post 23) at 9pm. There was a dance for the colored people at the colored Masonic Hall on Shawnee Street.

11 Nov 1933 – The Armistice Day observance consisted of two parades: The morning parade (11am) included military units, scouts, bands, 4-H, colored bands and colored veterans. The afternoon parade (3pm) included bands bicycles, floats, business vehicles, doll buggy entrants (contest). The day included a ‘Parking Ban’ on Delaware until 4pm.American Legion Post 23 gave its annual dance.

11 Nov 1934 – All city & county offices and banks closed. At 9:45am there was a special Armistice Day observance at the Protestant Chapel at the Soldiers Home. The annual parade was large with football game than followed and the evening wrapped up the annual Armistice Day dance.

11 Nov 1935 – Armistice Day observance began at 8am with church masses and services and parade starting at 10:30am. Speeches were given at City Hall that afternoon, a concert at City Hall that evening. Businesses remained opened except banks.

11 Nov 1936 – No parade but the observance included the sounding of taps at 11am, a ceremony, speeches, and dance at American Legion Byron H. Mehl Post 23.

11 Nov 1937 – The Armistice Parade was only 30 minutes but the crowed was estimated at 6,000. Congress made Veterans Day a legal holiday nationwide in 1938. The holiday has been observed annually on November 11 since that date - first as Armistice Day, later as Veterans Day - except for a brief period when it was celebrated on the fourth Monday of October. 11 Nov 1938 – The Armistice Day Parade was the largest to date – estimated crowd was 10,000. This parade had the largest amount of military ever seen.

10 Nov 1939 - A special mass was conducted at the Immaculata Conception (Catholic Church) in observance of Armistice Day for all veteran organizations.
The Leavenworth Armistice Day Parade was chaired by Leavenworth native William Reilly. The Grand Marshal was LTC William H.W. Young, Honorary Parade Marshals were General C. I. Martin, manager of the VA/Soldiers Home, and W.G. Leavel, representing the city of Leavenworth, they were two of five parade marshals. The parade stopped at 11am for 16 buglers to form a hollow square and play taps. The parade drew a crowd of 5,000.

11 Nov 1940 - Commander Martin Hun, American Legion Post 23, coordinated the Armistce Day events. Leavenworth Mayor Carl Kirmayer read a proclamation before start of the 10:45am parade. The local VFW and its auxiliary visited the VA and presented gifts to the veterans that afternoon.

11 Nov 1941 – The Armistice Day Parade started at 10:20am and climaxed at 10:50am with a memorial service. 800 men in green suits from the Recruiting Reception Center at Fort Leavenworth marched as newly recruited soldiers.

11 Nov 1942 – The country was now again at war and the city did not declare this day a holiday, but schools were dismissed for the start of Armistice Day services that began at 9:15am. LTC Raymond Orr conducted the morning observance at Leavenworth High School. The parade followed at 10:35am with the Grand Marshal being MAJ James Elliott, PAO, Fort Leavenworth. The downtown stores closed from 10:30am-11:30am.

11 Nov 1943 - It was in this year that the parade committee recommended that no commercial advertising of any nature would now be allowed in the parade. That recommendation came from Nijay Leonard, secretary for the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce. The parade chairman was SGT Otto Boman, member of American Legion Byron H. Mehl Post 23. Dr. T.J. Boone was commander of Post 23. They sponsored the annual dance that evening.

11 Nov 1944 – Armistice Day was now a legal holiday in Kansas. The annual parade was sponsored by American Legion Post 23 which began at 10:35am. No parking was allowed on Delaware street until after the parade.

11 Nov 1945 – There was a heavy downpour of rain but hundreds still watched the 10:35am Armistice Day Parade sponsored by American Legion Byron H. Mehl Post 23. . The Leavenworth Ministerial Association held a service on the grounds of City Hall after parade.

11 Nov 1946 – The Leavenworth Times read, “12,000 Flock to Downtown District for Victory Parade.” Leavenworth has biggest crowd since 1919 – Fort Leavenworth is Generous. Drugstores and eating places jammed and distinguished guest view parade from stand on City Hall lawn.

This day was set aside as an official observance of Armistice Day, V-E Day, and V-J Day. The highlight of the day was the parade with bands, army equipment – both modern and of that yesteryear, ROTC cadets, school children, Boy and Girl Scouts, floats, men and women on horseback, cars of distinguished visitors, and displays from Wadsworth. On the reviewing stand was LTG Leonard T. Gerow, commanding officer of Fort Leavenworth and his staff, Leavenworth Federal Prison Warden Walter A. Hunter and Lansing State Prison Warden Kudspeth, Leavenworth Mayor Kirmayer, city and county commissioners. The Victory Day parade celebration was coordinated by parade chairman Howard Faulkner who was a veteran of WWI. Taps was played at 11am followed by silence and the National Anthem.

There were many Leavenworth vehicles and displays, several bands which included Washington Rural High School, Basehor High School, and Epiphany School; Leavenworth downtown merchants and civic organizations. Following the parade there was a band concert of all bands on Delaware. All visiting musicians were invited to a luncheon. Many Leavenworth merchants made substantial contributions to pay the luncheon bill. The troops and horses of Fort Leavenworth of years past were noticeably absent, but the AAF equipment, museum pieces and World War II vehicles made up for the troops. Many country schools turned out to participate. The American Legion held an open house that ran for two days as well as the Knights of Columbus and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Delaware street was still a very busy place by mid-afternoon. Some merchants reported that this was their biggest business since the 1945 Christmas season. Drugstores and eating places were jammed all day.

11 Nov 1947 – Thousands of spectators jammed the Leavenworth streets to see the mammoth parade that began at 10am with 2,500 persons and 100 horses participating. Speeches were given at Hay Market Square which was highlighted by a speech given by the LT Governor of Kansas. There was a 2-hour band concert of 8 bands after parade. The Knights of Columbus gave an open house for all legionnaires. The observance ended with a masked ball sponsored by the American Legion Byron H. Mehl.

11 Nov 1948 – The Armistice Day observance, sponsored by American Legion Post 23, began with fireworks and then parade started at 10:35am. Fort Leavenworth entered a float entry that was titled “Spirit of 76” with wounded soldier lying on battlefield surrounded by spent cannonballs and debris. Speeches were done at Hay Market Square. Ceremonial dances performed by Indian group from Mayetta, KS. Schools were in session but were excused from 10am to 1pm.

11 Nov 1949 – Parade started at 10:35am, with the National Guard, Army Reserve, Navy Reserve setting up recruiting booths at Hay Market Square.

11 Nov 1950 – There was no parade as American Legion Post 23 stated they had difficulty getting military units to participate in parade. This Armistice Day observance was quiet with speeches given and music played on lawn of City Hall.

11 Nov 1951 – After parade, a speech was given by Major General Horace L. McBride at Hay Market Square. That evening the Leavenworth High School and Junior High School sponsored open houses for all from 7pm-9pm.

11 Nov 1952 – Although the parade only lasted 1 hour, hundreds of spectators lined Delaware then listened to speeches at Hay Market Square.

11 Nov 1953 – The same type of Armistice Day observance in Leavenworth as 1952.
In Emporia, Kansas, on November 11, 1953, instead of an Armistice Day program, there was a Veterans' Day observance. Ed Rees, of Emporia, was so impressed that he introduced a bill into the House to change the name to Veterans' Day. After this passed, Mr. Rees wrote to all state governors and asked for their approval and cooperation in observing the changed holiday. The name was changed to Veterans' Day by Act of Congress on May 24, 1954. In October of that year, President Eisenhower called on all citizens to observe the day by remembering the sacrifices of all those who fought so gallantly, and through rededication to the task of promoting an enduring peace. The President referred to the change of name to Veterans' Day in honor of the servicemen of all America's wars.
Eisenhower signs the bill
President Eisenhower signs HR7786, officially changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
Click the image for more information

11 Nov 1954 – As of this date, the observance/parade is now called Veterans Day and no longer Armistice Day. After parade, the American Legion Post 23 laid wreath at “Doughboy” statue at court house. Speeches were done at this location and Hay Market Square. Open houses were in many locations throughout the day.

11 Nov 1955 – The veterans Day Parade started at 10:30am with the National Anthem played at 11:45am and speeches on lawn of City Hall.

11 Nov 1956 – Veterans Day Parade lasted only 30 minutes, included Pershing Rifle Unit and KU. After parade all veteran organizations went to court house for wreath laying at “Doughboy”.

11 Nov 1957 – Veterans Day Parade started at 10:30am. Co-chairpersons were Luther Stafford and Ed Powers of American Legion Post 23. The 371st Army Band of Fort Leavenworth participated in parade. A crowd of more than 5,000 watched parade. A luncheon was given to guests of parade at the Hotel Cody.

10 Nov 1958 - Fort Leavenworth had kick-off ceremony to Veterans Day Observance with a luncheon.
Veterans Day Parade began at 10:40am sponsored by American Legion Post 23. Upon conclusion of parade, Post 23 commander Bob Slade laid wreath at monument of Doughboy statue courthouse. Fort Leavenworth welcomed veterans of WWI and WWII with luncheon. Manny stated it was the best observance in years.

11 Nov 1959 - After Veterans Day Parade, Ken and Laura Anne sponsored a social hour and luncheon for visiting guests of parade at Hotel Cody. American Legion Post 23 sponsored a luncheon for visiting bands of parade at their headquarters.

11 Nov 1960 – There was no parade but the Veterans Day observance consisted of a memorial service conducted in the auditorium of City Hall. Marvin Chapman, Manager of VA gave address.

11 Nov 1961 – No parade but Veterans Day observances took place in area churches.

11 Nov 1962 – No parade, but the Veterans Day Observance did not go without church chimes ringing at 11am. Ten soldiers from Fort Leavenworth had 11 VA domiciliary members as their guests in observance of Veterans Day.

11 Nov 1963 – With there being no parade for the past three years, veteran service and fraternal organizations came together to form a permanent committee to insure that the parade would continue.

The parade was large, the first float contest was started with winners being St. Mary’s College, 1st place; Job’s Daughters, Bethel Chapter, 2nd place; and Cub Scout Troop 3167, 3rd place. IMAC High School was given honorable mention. The guest speaker for the afternoon was Representative William H. Avery (R).

11 Nov 1965 – There was no newspaper article on Veterans Day parade/observance, just pictures of parade.

11 Nov 1966 - There was no newspaper article on Veterans Day parade/observance, just pictures of parade. It did state that parade began at 10:30am.

11 Nov 1967 – Veterans Day parade chairman was Ralph Greer. Parade included veterans of WWI. Guest speaker for the after noon was U.S. Representative Chester Mize.

11 Nov 1968 – Louis Vanderstaay was parade chairman. Parade attracted thousands of spectators with reviewing stand now being at 7th and Delaware as Leavenworth celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Armistice. Participants included bands from Fort Leavenworth, LHS and other area schools, military units and mounted horsemen.

A law passed in 1968 changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. This observance timeframe lasted ten years. Although the law was passed, Leavenworth continued to observe Veterans Day on its original date – November 11 until 1971 when Leavenworth began observing Veterans Day on the 4th Monday.

11 Nov 1969 – Patriotism was evident Leavenworth as young and old viewed parade; with a crowd being estimated at 7,500. Parade chairman was James Simpson, American Legion Post 94. Taking part in the parade along with adults and young adults were representatives of the younger set – cub and brownie scouts and small fry horseback riders in the mounted units. Also participating were state, county & city officials, as well as Fort Leavenworth personnel. After parade, Eliaz Rodriguez post commander of American Legion Post 23 planted the “Freedom Memorial Tree”, a 30ft blue spruce, on the grounds of the Federal Post Office, 4th and Shawnee Streets. At the end of the tree planting ceremony, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 56, presented awards to 4 law enforcement officers. More than 7,500 spectators attended parade and other Veterans Day observances.

11 Nov 1970 – Thousands lined Shawnee and Delaware streets for the annual Veterans Day parade. Police SGT Arden Rhyne, 31-year Veterans parade guide, led the units paying respect to the dead and living veterans of America’s wars. A color guard from Headquarters Company, Fort Leavenworth, led behind SGT Rhyne. The Leavenworth High School Pioneers band had decorated their instruments with roses. Governor Docking sent a telegram of his regrets being able to attend but also sent a Veterans Day message to the city of Leavenworth. Paraded started at 10:30 and route of parade was 6th & Shawnee east to 3rd Street, south to Delaware Street, west to 7th Street, which was ending point of parade.

25 Oct 1971 – Thousands lined downtown Leavenworth to see SGT Arden Rhyne lead the large parade. Lineup began at 9:30am at Broadway & Shawnee Streets and the parade began at 10am. A few of the dignitaries participating in parade were Pam Kelly, Miss Leavenworth; State Senator Edward Reilly, Jr.; Leavenworth Mayor Robert H. Hinz, and MG John Hennesey, Commander of Fort Leavenworth. The parade had 4 sections which included marching bands from both East and West Junior High Schools, saddle clubs from Easton, KS; and the “Big Red One” 1st Infantry unit from Fort Riley, KS

23 Oct 1972 – 5,000 lined Cherokee and Delaware Streets to view the parade being lead by 33 year police veteran SGT Arden Rhyne. SGT Rhyne lead units from the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s office, Leavenworth Police Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol. Dignitaries included US Representative Dr. Bill Roy representing Governor Dockings’s office; State Senator Edward Reilly, Jr.; Mayor Ben Day; Leavenworth county and city commissioners; MG John Hennesy, Fort Leavenworth; and area school bands. Participating organizations that coordinated the parade were WWI Veterans, V.F.W. Post 56, American Legions Post 23 & 94, Elks Lodge and Eagles.

Dole Wants Veterans Day on November 11 – Senator Bob Dole R-Kan, stated that one of his first acts in the 93rd Congress convening in January will be the introduction of a bill to officially redesign ate November 11 Veterans Day. “Today, November 11, Veterans Day, will also be so in the hearts and minds of millions of American,” Dole said. “These Americans, our veterans, have earned in fullest measure the respect and gratitude of their fellow countrymen and likewise America’s tribute to them should be unique.” Dole said the change made which designates a new holiday to fall on a Monday in October with an ever changing date without historic or symbolic significance.

22 Oct 1973 - It has become a tradition now for SGT Arden Ryhne to take his traditional lead in annual parade. This was his 34th parade lead. All city, county, and federal government offices closed for the observance, as well as schools. Kansas Governor and Mrs. Robert Docking also led parade. There were band, floats, scouts, civic organizations, and service organizations participating. Most of the downtown stores and those at the Leavenworth Plaza remained opened.

28 Oct 1974 – A large and excited crowd line both sides of Cherokee and Delaware streets to view the annual Veterans Day Parade.

27 Oct 1975 – Leavenworth High School Marching Pioneers Band led annual parade playing “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” The parade only lasted ½ hour which started on schedule. The parade consisted of bands, dignitaries and the many Veterans organizations and their auxiliaries. The observance continued at the Veterans Administration Center where ceremonies were held at the flag pole for those veterans that were unable to attend or participate in parade. The Cody Choraliers gave a selection and a short message was delivered by Margaret Michelson, director of the Veterans Administration Center. A tribute to living Veterans was delivered by William Hudson, a domiciliary member.

24 Oct 1976 – Parade began at 10am with civic and service organizations; bands from area schools, both high school and junior high; city, county, and state officials; and Fort Leavenworth officials. After parade, the Veterans Administration Center and Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery held an observance with two ceremonies. The observance at the VA included the unveiling of the Medal of Honor grave marker for LT Daniel Dorsey and the Veterans Day Medal of Honor Tree Dedication. Fort Leavenworth observance also included the unveiling of a memorial plaque for Medal of Honor holders. Message was delivered by BG Louis Mertetrey. A special honor guard salute was provided by a special firing squad detail, US Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth. Medal of Honor holders were MAJ Jack H. Jacobs and Herbert H. Burr.

24 Oct 1977 – The only mention of the annual Veterans Day Parade in the Times was a picture of the LHS Drum & Bugle Corp marching in front of Rexall Drugstore.

It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date – 11 Nov. Kansas has elected to start its Veterans Day observance on November 11, 1977.

11 Nov 1978 – This marked the 1st observance of Veterans Day back on its original date. There were 2 parades in Leavenworth today: the first one started at 10:30am from Haymarket Square and ended at the reviewing stand at 1st National Bank; 2nd parade took place at the VA at 1:30pm starting at Lake Jeannette and ending at the Theater. All service organizations marched with their colors; BG Brophy delivered the main address after the parade. At 2pm, military and service organizations recognized the achievements of Gen Henry Leavenworth by placing a wreath at his grave.

11 Nov 1979 – More than 66 units participated in the annual Veterans Day Parade; later in the day, a 2nd parade took place at the VA.

11 Nov 1980 – 60 units participated in the annual event. Parade committee also observed Tuesday as a day of remembrance for the American hostages in Iran. Yellow ribbons were tied to the American flag hanging from poles & columns along Delaware Street.

11 Nov 1981- 70 units participated in this year’s annual Veterans Day Parade whose route was Cherokee from 7th to 2nd Street and return on Delaware Street. Participating in the annual event was State Senator Edward Reilly, Jr., Rep Mike Crow and Rep Ambrose Dempsey as well as representatives of each of the armed forces.

11 Nov 1982 – “The annual parade began at 10:30am and stopped for taps at 11am.” This is all that was stated in the Times about Veterans Day Parade. The big story in the paper was “Breshnev Dies of Apparent Heart Attack”

11 Nov 1983 – Thousands of spectators lined Delaware Street to view more than 80 units participating in annual Veterans Day Parade. Earlier in the week Leavenworth Mayor Clyde Graeber gave proclamation to parade committee.

11 Nov 1984 – The early morning snowfall may have deterred many from attending the annual Veterans Day Parade but the cold wind did not stop the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 75 from participating in downtown Leavenworth on Saturday. Over 100 units participated including marching bands from area schools, floats and cars.

11 Nov 1985 – The Times on stated that hundreds of people crowded the streets for the annual Veterans Day Parade and showing a picture of the LHS JROTC marching. Earlier in the week Leavenworth Mayor Lee Farnsworth gave proclamation to parade committee.

11 Nov 1986 – Large crowds turned out despite cold temperatures to witness the annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown Leavenworth. About 120 units participated including Lansing HS band. Parade grand marshal was BG Alonzo Dougherty who accompanied by his wife Ellen. Earlier in the week Leavenworth Mayor Clarkson Brown gave proclamation to parade committee.

11 Nov 1987 – The Times published a picture of an unidentified Navy 2nd Class Petty Officer saluting as a Marine Color Guard passes with the American flag along Cherokee Street during the Veterans Day Parade in downtown Leavenworth. The grand marshal was LTC Linda G. Burch.

This parade paid honor to the women who served in our armed forces.

11 Nov 1988 – This year’s Veterans Day Parade included 4 grand marshals which were WWI veterans Fred Sharp, John Kreutzer, John Gunther, and James Shea.

11 Nov 1989 – Times on 10 Nov only stated date, time and location of annual Veterans Day Parade. In Nov 12th issue of the Times it only published a small picture of Ray Klotz, former US Army Signal Corp photographer saluting as parade passes along Delaware Street.

11 Nov 1990 – The theme of this year’s Veterans Day Parade was “Salute to Veterans through the Years.” With the weather being so great the parade had 150 entrants which included 1st Infantry Division Band, Fort Riley; Navy Color Guard, Olathe, KS; many military vehicles, area high school bands; homecoming queens; county and city officials from Leavenworth & Lansing; senior officers from Fort Leavenworth and liaisons to Fort Leavenworth from Turkey, Australia, Canada, Japan and Germany.

11 Nov 1991 – This Veterans Day Parade was dedicated to Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Grand marshals were Misty Daniels, wife of SPC Michael D. Daniels, killed in Operation Desert Storm, and his grandmother Mrs. Madonna Cook of Leavenworth.

11 Nov 1992 – Grand marshals for this year’s Veterans Day Parade are Jan Cook and Alene Hamm. They were chosen in honor of their 20 years of service to the Veterans Day Parade Committee. The parade was dedicated to all veterans. There were 140 units participating which included the 1st Division Band, Fort Riley, KS; Colonial Color Guard; scouts; LHS JROTC; county & city officials of Leavenworth and Lansing; and a flyover from McConnell AFB. Parade co-chairmen were Jerl & Sondra Wooddell.

11 Nov 1993 – This was the largest parade to date – 147 entrants. Picture in Times showing Cub Scout Steven Fagan carrying a flag and Larry Nance, V.F.W. quartermaster carrying American flag.

11 Nov 1994 – Thousands attended the Veterans Day Parade in downtown Leavenworth which brought out both young and old including a few WWI veterans who watched parade from reviewing stand.

11 Nov 1995 – 200 invitations were extended to individuals, organizations, school bands, and military units to participate in this parade whose them was “Honoring All hospitalized Veterans.”

11 Nov 1996 – Parade theme was “Those That Served.” An explosive device was set off at 11am signaling that parade participants are to stop with silence for the playing of taps. 140 participants were in parade with the 705th MP Color Guard, Fort Leavenworth leading off parade. Participation included military vehicles from the Kansas National Guard; area JROTC units; state, city and county officials; bands scouts, police and fire agencies. Grand Marshal was 95 year old Helena Stonbraker, a 71 year member of the American Legion Byron H. Mehl Auxiliary.

11 Nov 1997 – The 705th MP Color Guard lead the Veterans Day Parade. There were military vehicles of the Kansas National Guard, the KU Army ROTC, law enforcement officer and firefighters, national state, city and county officials, bands and floats. US Senators Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts walked behind a car that carried a WWI widow.

11 Nov 1998 - Grand Marshal was Carl Christian, youngest surviving member of the USS Arizona. Participation included Kansa Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh, WWI widow Genice McCormick, Citizen Pottawatomie Nation, Not only did the Fort Leavenworth military contingency was large but also support parade with military drivers. Parade committee got its first parade buttons which was a generous donation Daniel Banz. Flyover done by the 184th Bomber Wing, McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, KS. Parade committee has started giving monetary wards for best patriotic float based on creativity, patriotism, and originality. Judges were selected from area businesses.

11 Nov 1999 – The largest Veterans Day Parade Leavenworth produced in recent years. Ore than 129 units participated. The military contingent was lead by COL Stephen R. West, Chief of Staff, and Command Sergeant Major Cynthia Pritchett. International officers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Spain and Turkey viewed the parade from the reviewing stand. COL Steven Pierce represented the 35th Infantry Division Mechanized. A replica of the Battleship Missouri was pulled by a Navy recruiter and the 8th Arkansas Calvary Re-enactment Group were among many parade participants. Among the many spectators at the parade was Vietnam War veteran Clay Iokepa, who stated the he as not missed a Veterans Day Parade in the 27 years he has lived in Leavenworth. He also stated that he noticed the change in the way veterans are treated, particularly in this area – with more recognition and respect. Mack McMahon, garden City, MO, portrayed “Buffalo Bill” in parade, and a veteran of Vietnam, stated that people show more respect for soldiers and veterans.

11 Nov 2000 – Veterans Day Parade honored the 50th anniversary of the Korean War, with the theme “Lest We Forget – All Gave Some, Some Gave All.” More than 200 invites went out. There were five Grand Marshals for this parade, all Korean War veterans: one each representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Flyover was done by the 184th Bomber Wing, McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, KS. The 705th MP Color Guard lead parade, with participation from the Fort Leavenworth military contingency, the Command and Generals Staff College, Kansas National Guard, area JROTC units band and floats.

12 Nov 2001 – Theme for this parade was “United We Stand.” More than 120 units were invited but parade had no flyover due to events involving the military. Immaculata High School Choir and cheerleaders stopped in front of reviewing stand and sang “God bless America”. In honor of their 100th anniversary the parade committee selected the Army Nurse Corps as Grand Marshal. The parade stopped for the re-enlistment ceremony of SFC Martin G. Vandervelde which took place in front of reviewing stand. Among the many dignitaries on reviewing stand was BG David Huntoon representing Fort Leavenworth, Medal of Honor Recipient LTC (Ret) Charles Hagemeister and Pearl harbor survivor Robert Forestner. .The Fort Leavenworth marching contingency was lead by chief of Staff COL Michael A. Lansing.

11 Nov 2002 – Parade theme “One Nation Under God”; with Leavenworth County Sheriff herb Nye as Grand Marshal. Terry Bair, bagpiper leads parade. Fort Leavenworth supplied military drivers; participation included LTC Walt Fredericks, commander, represented the 35th infantry Division Mechanized; US Senator Sam Brownback; Leavenworth/Lansing city officials; many scouts; and high school bands.

11 Nov 2003 - Parade theme was “Freedom is Not Free.” Grand Marshal is LTG William S. Wallace, Commanding general, Fort Leavenworth. LTG Wallace led the army’s decisive attack in Baghdad in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Local VFW Post 56 held open house celebration for members of the 35th Infantry Division, Kansas National Guard who recently returned from deployment to Bosnia; Post 56 adopted their families while these soldiers were deployed. Live radio remote by 94 FM KFKF. One of the special attractions of parade that drew a big applause was a 155 Self-propelled Howitzer. Balloons and flags were distributed by high school students of Pleasant Ridge; many vintage vehicles, both military and non-military. Fly over was done by the 190th Air Refueling Wing, Kansas Air National Guard, Topeka, KS. More than 160 were invited.

11 Nov 2004 – Three grand marshals selected: recently retired parade committee members; fly over done by Leavenworth native MAJ Grant Gooch, Iowa Air National Guard; parade theme was “In Support of America”; live radio remote by 94 FM KFKF. One of the special attractions of parade that drew a big applause was a 155 Self-propelled Howitzer. Balloons and flags were distributed by Leavenworth High School P.O.C. (People of Color). Participations included military equipment, bands, scouts, veteran and fraternal organizations, marching military contingent; several JROTCs; US Naval Sea Cadet Corps; Young Gentlemen of Anthony; floats and horse groups. Service organizations held open houses throughout the day for the public.

11 Nov 2005 – Blue skies and warm weather brought out 13,000 spectators for annual Veterans Day Parade. Parade theme “In Support of America”; Jack Walker was grand marshal; bagpipers retired LTC Dale Clelland and SFC Terry Bair lead parade; Garrison Commander COL John Towers lead the Fort Leavenworth military contingency; Leavenworth native LTC Grant Gooch flies one of three F-16s fly over parade; ‘Returning Hero float’ had military members who had returned from conflicts from around the world plus military members who assisted victims of Hurricane Katrina. A somber moment in parade came as a truck with thousands of pictures of those who died on Sept 11, 2001 and in the Iraq war. It was reported that a father put his arm around his young son when the first solders marched by saying, “Stand straight and salute with me, this is for our country.” Later in the day was the first ever Veterans Day Art Sale at the Heritage Center. All veterans brought their art to show and sell.

11 Nov 2006 – Parade theme “In Support of America”; parade honored with the two of Fort Riley’s finest – The Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard and the First Infantry Division Band. The 9th & 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers were Grand Marshals; The Mounted Color Guard wore uniforms and equipment of the Civil War era. The Heritage Center sponsored a Veterans Coffee as well as the Leavenworth Rotary Club sponsored a Veterans Breakfast before the parade. All disabled veterans got their breakfast free. The Rotary club is making this breakfast an annual event leading up to start of parade. Immediately after taps a “swearing-in” ceremony of new recruits was done in front of the reviewing stand by the KC MEPS. LT Governor John Moore, BG John Daveron, were among the many dignitaries in the parade; a cannon provided by the Sons of Confederate Veterans sounded a reminder for taps; B Battery 1-161 Field Artillery brought the infamous howitzer; a first for the parade was ‘Sizzle’, that Kansas City T-Bones; baseball mascot and the Kansas Speedway PACE ca; there were many bands, floats, and WWII veterans.

11 Nov 2007 – On Sunday, 2pm, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC, sent one of its top officials to deliver a “Veterans Day Message” to the Leavenworth community. Robert J. Henke, chief financial officer of the VA, delivered the national message at American Legion Byron H. Mehl Post 23 This was a kick-off to the parade.

Parade theme “In Support of America”; President Bush sent a letter to parade committee with best wishes; Leavenworth has been selected as a regional site for Veterans Day observance by the National Veterans Day Committee, Department of Veterans Affairs. This designation is awarded to communities for serving as a model for other communities to follow in planning their own observances; an article on the parade was written in October/November issue of Gatehouse Magazine, LTC Grant Gooch, Iowa Air National Guard, selected as Grand Marshal; Bob Chaney, member of the Saint Andrews Society pipes and Drums starts parade; among the notable dignitaries were US Senator Pat Roberts, US Congressman Jim Ryun, US Rep Nancy Boyda, commander of the 35th Infantry Division Kansas National Guard, COL Wayne Pierson; the Keebler Elf and Tony the Tiger made an appearance; prior to parade live patriotic music was performed at three locations around parade route: Laura Moyers Band at 7th & Delaware, 1st Infantry Division Band at 4th & Cherokee, and Navy veteran & trumpet player John Westphling. At 11am 26 trumpeters participated in the playing of taps. A total of 219 entries were in parade.

11 Nov 2008 – 89th Veterans Day Parade observance with theme “Home of the Free Because of the Brave”; Leavenworth has been selected as a regional site for Veterans Day observance by the National Veterans Day Committee, Department of Veterans Affairs; Marty Morgan selected as 2008 parade chairman, Charles Gregor selected as grand marshal and parents of SPC William Mulvihill selected as honorary grand marshals; bagpiper Dale Cleland lead parade; LTC Grant Gooch, Iowa Air National Guard, flew one of 2-F16s; Laura Moyers Band, 7th & Delaware St, Navy veteran & trumpet player John Westphling, Riverfront Community Center, and taped patriotic music at 4th & Cherokee St; many area school bands; numerous political and military top personnel in parade which included Governor Kathleen Sebelius; 10 different horse groups in parade; many different motorcycle groups; large assortment of military equipment on display at Haymarket Square; immediately after taps a “swearing-in” ceremony of new recruits was done in front of the reviewing stand by the KC MEPS; float judges were from Basehor, Tonganoxie and Lansing; large Fort Leavenworth military contingent in parade; area service organizations had open houses all day; there was VIP reception & open house at American Legion Post 23 with certificates given to; there were 188 actual parade participants.

11 Nov 2009 – 90th Veterans Day Parade observance with theme “America, Thanks to Veterans”; Leavenworth has been selected again as a regional site for Veterans Day observance by the National Veterans Day Committee, Department of Veterans Affairs; article about parade in LV Magazine, Oct/Nov 2009 issue; prior to parade live patriotic music was performed at two locations around parade route: SSG Ric Jackson, 7th & Delaware St, Navy veteran & trumpet player John Westphling, Riverfront Community Center, and taped patriotic music at 4th & Cherokee St; bagpiper Dale Cleland lead parade; COL Mark Hammond & CPT Tony Bradley, Iowa Air National Guard, flew 2-F16s as LTC Grant Gooch, who usually does the flyover was currently serving in Bagdad; James Fricke was selected as the 2009 parade chairman; the late Al Padilla, Veterans Day Parade committee treasurer chosen as 2009 grand marshal; the Returning Hero float carried 16 returning active duty & veterans coming back from Iraq, Korea, Bosnia, Germany, Afghanistan, to include Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Red Dawn & Operation Enduring Freedom; Fort Leavenworth supported the parade with a large military contingent; there were 21 political & military dignitaries in parade; immediately after taps a “swearing-in” ceremony of new recruits was done in front of the reviewing stand by the KC MEPS; float winners were: 1st place ($100) American Legion Post 23, 2nd place ($75) Lansing American Legion Post 411, and 3rd place ($50) YGLA; float judges were fire chief Dave Bennet, Tonganoxie, Jamie Carlyle, Tonganoxie High School principal, and Leavenworth merchant Ralph Dix Sr; area service organizations had open houses all day; 174 actual parade participants; there was VIP reception & open house at American Legion Post 23; Henry Martens, USD 453, LHS JROTC, Country Club Bank and Patriot Guard were given certificates at VIP reception/open house for supporting parade committee for 2009; there were 11, 000 visitors that watched parade.

11 Nov 2010 – 91st Veterans Day Parade observance with theme again being “America, Thanks to Veterans”; Leavenworth has been selected again as a regional site for Veterans Day observance by the National Veterans Day Committee, Department of Veterans Affairs; more than 15,000 people came to Leavenworth and watched 225 parade entrants in parade Participation will include: MG John Daveron, Commander, 35th ID Division, KS National Guard; COL Wayne Green, Garrison Commander; the military contingent of Fort Leavenworth; US Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins; US Congressman Jerry Moran; 9th & 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers; WWII veterans; mayors of Leavenworth, Lansing, & Tonganoxie; the American Legion & VFW Riders; local & state politicians; boy and girl scouts; VISN 15 Heartland Director Mr. James R. Floyd and Deputy Director John Moon; Judy McKee, Dir, VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System; the Abdullah and St. Joseph Moila Shrines; ‘Sammy’ the patriotic clown; area school bands featuring Hickman Mills, Olathe North & South bands, Shawnee Mission North, & Eudora; numerous horse groups; JROTC units featuring the Kansas 931 Air Force JROTC, Washington High School, KCK; police & fire agencies from around the state of Kansas & Missouri; antique car groups; veteran service & fraternal organizations and more. Robert Gillette selected as parade chairman; Roy Holland and the late Walt Riner (who was represented by his wife Pat) were selected as honorary grand marshals. Monetary awards will be given for best floats in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place categories. Floats were judged on parade theme, “America – Thanks to Veterans”, which had to be visible on either front or back of float or both sides, & on originality, creativity and patriotism. Judging was done by Wendy Scheidt, representing Leavenworth Main Street, Jamie Carlyle representing Tonganoxie, and Carl Slaugh representing Basehor; winners were 1st place American Legion Post 23, 2nd place Eagles 55 and 3rd place Lansing American Legion Post 411. There was a military static display from the 35th Infantry Division Kansas National Guard, a Viet Nam era helicopter, and the Patriotic Project, all staged at 4th & Cherokee, NW lot, immediately after parade for public viewing.

11 Nov 2011 – According to area media outlets & city police officials, the nation’s oldest regional Veterans Day observance was held in downtown Leavenworth, KS, on Friday, November 11, 10:30am, and was seen by 15,000+ spectators. The 92nd Veterans Day observance kept with the theme “America – Thanks to Veterans.” The parade committee selected James Rodgers as parade chairman and retired BG Stan Cherrie as grand marshal for the 2011 parade. The parade route ran from 4th & Cherokee Street east to Esplanade, north to Delaware, west to 7th Street, south to Cherokee, east on Cherokee to 5th Street where parade disbanded. The line of parade was led by bagpipers LTC Rob McWilliams, Dale Clelland, John Bauer & Kevin Regan and the 15th Military Police Brigade Color Guard, Fort Leavenworth, KS. The parade stopped at 11am for taps with a flyover by LTC Grant Gooch & LTC Mike McKee of the Iowa Air National Guard flying F-16s . More than 220 participants were invited to participate in this 92nd annual event. Participation included: MG John Daveron, Commander, 35th ID Division, KS National Guard; the military contingent of Fort Leavenworth; US Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins; US Congressman Jerry Moran; 9th & 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers; Tuskegee Airmen; WWII veterans; Mayor Mark Priesinger, Leavenworth, Mayor Jason Ward, Tonganoxie; local & state politicians; boy and girl scouts; VISN 15 Heartland Director Mr. James R. Floyd; Judy McKee, Dir, VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System; A Viet Nam era helicopter; the Abdullah Shrine; area school bands to include Hickman Mills; numerous horse groups; JROTC units featuring the Kansas 931 Air Force JROTC, Washington High School, KCK, as well as our own LHS JROTC; police & fire agencies from around the state of Kansas & Missouri; numerous motorcycle groups and antique car groups; veteran service & fraternal organizations. A highlight of the parade was a special float in parade from MacNamara Moore American Legion Post 61, Ida Grove, IA, which was a reproduction of the historic flag raised on Feb. 23, 1945 at Mt Suribachi, Iwo Jima.

The ‘Returning Hero’ float include Ardell Uhart, a WWII WAC, and winners of a free night at Union Park Guest House for the Veterans Day observance – retired Navy veteran Brandon Stark and his wife of Manhattan, KS, and SSG David Felpel and his wife of Herrington, KS. Special guests on reviewing stand included the oldest living WWII veteran in Leavenworth county Larry Land; various WWII veterans; the Wounded Warriors Transition Unit, Fort Riley, KS.

Monetary awards were given for best floats in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place categories:
1st Place ($100.00) – American Legion Byron H. Mehl Post 23
2nd Place ($75.00) – Fraternal Order of Eagles
3rd Place ($50.00) – First Judicial District CASA Association

Emcees for the parade were Mike Howell (4th & Cherokee), Bill Wallace (300 block Delaware) and Dan Wiley, (7th & Delaware). Balloons were distributed along parade route by area scouts prior to start of parade. Prior to start of parade patriotic music was performed by the Ric Jackson Trio at 7th & Delaware and 91 year old Navy veteran John Westphling performed in front of Riverfront Community Center. The Leavenworth Rotary Club sponsored its annual Veterans Breakfast 7-10am, morning of parade, at the Riverfront Community Center, all disabled veterans ate breakfast free. After parade, there were open houses at American Legion Post 23 & 94 and VFW Post 56. All were open to the public. Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill served free lunch & dinner for to all veterans. There was also a special Veterans Day exhibit featured at the Carroll Mansion, 1128 5th Ave, they also hosted a reception for local military personnel and veterans.


Here in Leavenworth
, veterans and active duty military are honored on Veterans Day with the year’s largest downtown parade. Annually, despite the weather, downtown historic Leavenworth, KS, is filled with a patriotic public paying tribute to veterans and their sacrifices. Leavenworth is selected annually as a regional site for the Veterans Day observance by the National Veterans Day Committee, Washington, DC. Leavenworth County Veterans Day Parade draws 12,000 to 15,000+ spectators annually. The Veterans Day Parade draws spectators not only from around Kansas but from Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado and Minnesota as well

The first Armistice Day was clear and perfect for a celebration. Every year since, the day has been fittingly observed here, in Leavenworth.

The Leavenworth County Veterans Day Parade Committee is comprised of the following veteran service and fraternal organizations:
~Byron H. Mehl American Legion Post & Auxiliary 23
~Andrew Newton American Legion Post & Auxiliary 94
~Lansing Memorial American Legion Post & Auxiliary 411
~George E. White Veterans of Foreign Wars Post & Auxiliary 56
~James Taylor Lansing Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post & Auxiliary 12003
~Bernard Lee Deghand Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12073
~Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 75
~Leavenworth P.O.W. Chapter
~Disabled American Veterans Chapter 7
~Voiture 1163 - 40&8
~Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie & Auxiliary 55
~Knight of Columbus Council & Auxiliary 900