By Jane Fullerton Lemons
Sponsored by Northern Virginia Veterans Parade
The 10th annual Northern Virginia Veterans Parade will step off this Saturday, Nov. 3, following a route along Center Street as more than 60 participants march through Historic Downtown Manassas.
The largest parade celebrating Veterans Day in Northern Virginia, it will include participants that span the history of the U.S. military from revolutionary times to today. On hand will be military and high school bands, members of local veterans organizations, and military units and vehicles representing various branches of the armed forces.
This year’s parade, which begins at 11:00 a. m., will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the American Legion, established by Congress in 1919. The American Legion is the largest wartime veterans service organization, and it currently has nearly two million members and more than 12,000 posts throughout America.
American Legion Post 10 in Manassas has long been a core supporter of its local parade, providing logistical and financial support. Its members — including the color guard and motorcycle riders — will be among those taking part. They will march with the Manassas Young Marines, Boy Scout Troop 884 and Sea Scout Troop 100 along with the Osbourn Park High School National Junior ROTC and the Stonewall Jackson High School Air Force Junior ROTC.
Because of the parade’s community focus, said retired Marine Col. Mike Riley, a parade board member, “we are pleased to have several schools participating.”
Those include the Woodbridge Senior High School Army Junior ROTC, the Patriot High School Marching Pioneers, the Benton Middle School Military Pride Club, the Osbourn Park Marching Yellow Jackets and the Manassas Park Marching Cougars. There also will be numerous scout troops.
Both retired and active duty military members will be represented by American Legion and VFW posts from throughout the area. The Marine Corps Base Quantico band and color guard also will participate.
This year’s grand marshal is Dan Dellinger of Vienna, an Army veteran and past American Legion national commander.
Honoring Public Service
In addition, this year’s parade will be dedicated to the memory of Manassas Police Sgt. John David Conner III, who was killed in the line of duty in 1988. Conner was a Vietnam War veteran who had been with the Manassas Police Department for eight years. He was survived by his wife and four children.
Conner’s service will be highlighted, and his family will sit in the reviewing stand. “As a public servant, both as a Manassas police officer and Army veteran, offering this recognition reminds the community of the value and perils of public service,” said Riley.
Parking and Viewing
Organizers suggest arriving around 10:00 a. m. Parking is available throughout Historic Downtown Manassas, including the commuter parking garage or nearby Osbourn High School.
For the best viewing, Riley recommends bringing lawn chairs and lining up on Prescott and Center streets. The parade route will follow Prescott Avenue around the corner onto Center Street, then continue down Center Street to West Street. It will cross in front of the reviewing stage at West and Center streets.
After the parade, businesses and supporters will have exhibits in Harris Pavilion. They will include the Virginia Department of Veterans Services; American Legion Post 10; the National Museum of the Marine Corps; Semper K9, which provides assistance dogs for veterans; and the Hylton Performing Arts Center, which sponsors the Veterans and the Arts Initiative at George Mason University.
Jane Fullerton Lemons (email@example.com) is a freelance writer and journalist. A longtime resident of Prince William County, she holds an MFA from Goucher College. Follow her work at janefullertonlemons.com.