5 reasons not to miss Auburn’s Veterans Day parade

Pride, appreciation sound drumbeats along Sunday's route
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Journal file photo

Downtown Auburn’s Lincoln Way and High Street will be lined with Veterans Day parade-goers Sunday morning. There are plenty of reasons to take the time to attend.


It’s perhaps the Auburn community’s most emotional expression of respect and thanks and it happens every year on Veterans Day.

The city’s Veterans Day parade draws people from throughout the region for a salute that sends a colorful procession of veterans and marching bands down Lincoln Way and along High Street to the Gold Country Fairgrounds.

Thousands are expected to line the parade route or march Sunday. Start time is 10:45 a.m. Red, white and blue colors will predominate and it won’t be a surprise if a tear or two is shed in remembrance of sacrifices made serving the country in the military.

Cynthia Haynes, a key parade organizer, said she’ll be handing out some of the 500 commemorative medallions to veterans and providing a hug of thanks as well.

“It’s not uncommon for me to see them break down and cry — it’s an emotional thing to just be be thanked,” Haynes said.

Here are five reasons, not ranked in order, to get out to the parade — either as a veteran participant or as a spectator:

1. Honoring Veterans

This year, all U.S. veterans are being invited to be honorary grand marshals and march in the parade. Check-in is requested by 10 a.m. for veterans not associated with a particular parade participant. Vets can choose to wear their uniforms — if they still fit. Medals are also optional. For those who prefer not to march, Haynes said there are plenty of vehicles to ride in — from vintage jeeps to shiny new cars. Vehicle pickup will be before 9:30 a.m. at the fairgrounds to drive to the parade starting point.

2. A Shining Salute

Speaking of sheen, there are 500 medallions to be given away free to veterans in the parade or along the route. And Haynes opines that they’re the best-looking in the 14 years they’ve been awarded. This year’s commemorates the end of World War I — on the 11th hour of the 11the day of the 11th month. Veterans’ advocate Court Bradbury’s drawing forms the basis for the artwork.

3. Post-Parade Lunch

Spectators and parade marchers alike can chow down apres procession at the fairgrounds. Hot dogs, chips, cold drinks and cookies are on the menu. There’s also a 30-minute ceremony at the fairgrounds’ Armory Building, with speeches. music and — something new — photos from past Auburn parades projected on the wall.

4. Breakfast of Champions

An army of parade-goers marches on its stomach so veterans are invited to partake in a free breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday prepared by the Auburn Jeep Club. The meal will be served in the First Foundation Bank parking lot near the parade start on Lincoln Way. Civilians can also take part, with a charge of $5 for breakfast.

5. Remembering WWI

1918 was the year that ended what was known as The Great War and became known as World War I to future generations. The 100th anniversary will make the pause at 11 a.m. along the parade route all the more memorable. The front of the parade will halt at Central Square, where three rifle volleys, taps and a white dove release will accompany a moment of silence. There will be a flyover, wind conditions permitting, and the National Anthem. The parade also honors an Auburn man who died in World War I and whose name lives on with the American Legion’s Richard W. Townsend Post in Auburn. Townsend, a quarry worker in the American River canyon, was killed in action in 1918.