Southern Nevada will honor its military service men and women Saturday morning during what’s touted as the “largest Veterans Day parade west of the Mississippi.”
The 29th annual procession, organized by the Veterans Action Group nonprofit, is taking place from 10 a.m. to noon in the heart of Las Vegas.
Its current iteration began in 1994, but the global pandemic led to the 2020 parade’s cancellation.
The event is an opportunity to thank current and retired service members for their sacrifices but also a chance for the veterans to commiserate, and for younger generations to learn their stories, said Dixon Keller, the nonprofit’s communications director and a Vietnam War veteran.
“For those veterans that came back, for example, from Vietnam, nobody said, ‘Thank you for your service,’” Keller said. “And this is a chance to really say thank you for the service and the sacrifice that these men and women have done for our country.”
Floats and flyovers
More than 100 groups will ride on floats and march down Fourth Street in downtown Las Vegas, starting at Garces Avenue and ending at Stewart Avenue, he said.
The procession kicks off at 10 a.m., but attendees might want to show up a bit early to catch a good spot and not miss two flyovers — one from the Metropolitan Police Department around 9:50 a.m. and another by a military branch at the start of the parade, Keller said.
The central viewing stands with audible narration will be located on Fourth and East Ogden Avenue.
Keller, 69, recommended that attendees dress warmly.
The National Weather Service projects sunny skies with a light breeze and chilly temperatures between 55 and 60 degrees, meteorologist Andy Gorelow said Thursday.
Entries include military groups, ROTC and JROTC units, marching bands, drill teams, motorcycle and car clubs, organizers said.
This year’s dignitaries include Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo and Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill, both of whom served in the Army, Keller said.
Keller, a Navy aviation veteran who helped launch fighter jets at the end of the Vietnam War, is a division commander for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, a uniformed nonmilitary volunteer with the branch.
Attendees should expect heavy police presence and road closures in the area from 7 a.m. to noon, organizers said.
“We have a lot of security every single year at the parade,” Keller said. “We spend a lot of time and effort to make sure that people are safe, to go to the parade or be in the parade.”
After the parade, at 1:30 p.m., the Nevada Department of Veterans Services will host a Veterans Day ceremony at the Nevada State Veterans Memorial outside the Sawyer Building, 555 E. Washington Ave., according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.