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Annual Veterans Day Parade in Reno

Saturday, November 11, 2017

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Reno's annual Veterans Day Parade, always held on November 11 (rain or shine), is the "official" Veterans Day Parade in Nevada. This is a non-partisan, non-political event to honor the service of our veterans and currently serving members of our military. Parade opening ceremonies are traditionally at 11:11 a.m. Opening ceremonies for 2017 will be at the Virginia Street Bridge. The parade gets under way at about 11:20 a.m. following a ceremonial wreath toss into the Truckee River.

Veterans Day Parade in Reno, Nevada
Photo © Stan White

The theme for the 2017 Reno Veterans Day Parade is "Reno 150 - Celebrating Reno's Sesquicentennial." Grand Marshal is Colonel (Retired) Kat Miller and Deputy Grand Marshal is Brig. Gen. Zachary Doser.

This year, the City of Reno is partnering with Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada and the Double Diamond Athletic Club for Operation Resilience to collect food for veterans in need in our community. The community is encouraged to bring canned goods and nonperishable food items to the parade, and place them in marked barrels along the parade route.

This parade draws a large number of entries - ROTC groups from regional high schools, university and high school marching bands, honor guards and other groups representing all the services, other groups wanting to honor the military service of our veterans, and groups representing various veterans' organizations. Deadline for entries is Friday, October 28, 2016. Applications are available from the City of Reno. Any individual or group that attempts to use the parade as a partisan and/or political forum will be denied participation.

The Reno Veterans Day Parade also draws big crowds. Come early if you want to secure a good viewing spot along the parade route. There are places for folding chairs if you come soon enough - otherwise, it becomes standing room only. Besides the regular parade entries, you are likely to see politicians and other dignitaries, both local and from around the state. It is common for the Reno City Council and mayor to attend, along with Nevada state office holders (the governor frequently comes) and U.S. Senators and Representatives.

Reno Veterans Day Parade Route

The parade starts at Liberty Street, flows north on Virginia Street, marches under the Reno Arch and ends at 5th Street. The parade ends between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

A Brief History of Veterans Day

Armistice Day was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 to commemorate the end of hostilities in WWI (The Great War) with an armistice that went into effect on November 11, 1918 at 11 a.m. Armistice Day was officially recognized as a national holiday with an act passed by Congress on May 13, 1938.

Of course, "the war to end all wars" didn't work out that way. Following WWII and the Korean War, Congress was moved to amend the act of 1938 to be more inclusive and honor American veterans of all wars. On June 1, 1954, the observance became Veterans Day.

Along with Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day and Columbus Day, the actual observance of Veterans Day was moved to create three day weekends. In the case of Veterans Day, the move proved highly unpopular as it diluted the significance of the November 11 date. In 1978, the observance of Veterans Day was returned to November 11, no matter what day of the week on which it falls.

For additional background and details, refer to "History of Veterans Day" from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Day Parade in Virginia City

Virginia City, Nevada, also holds an annual Veterans Day Parade on November 11. The parade begins at 11 a.m. and marches down C Street, Virginia City's main drag.

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