In its second year in Clarksville, the Welcome Home Veterans Parade attracted scores of celebrants to Liberty Park, where they recognized the motto of the Vietnam Veterans of America: “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”
In one of history’s sad chapters, many Vietnam veterans of the 1970s experienced a lack of recognition from established veteran groups. The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) formed in 1978 to address such issues.
The parade was sponsored by the Tennessee State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America and was coordinated locally by Visit Clarksville. While the parade was produced to honor veterans of the Vietnam War, it is also open to all who had served in any branch of the U.S. military.
Prior to the parade’s start, a group of Team Fastrax parachute specialists floated through the sky. Then a color guard led vehicles filled with a variety of special guests, including country music star Lee Greenwood, Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan and John Rowan, the VVA’s national president.
Among the other participants were marching bands, VVA units, city officials, military reunion groups and Patriot Guard riders. Various veterans marched or rode in cars, including Retired Army Capt. Clause “Dutch” Mann, a 92-year-old World War II and Korean War veteran, and Lynn Hunter, a 90-year-old Clarksville Marine Corps veteran who served in World War II.
Following the parade, attendants participated in Patriots Day in Liberty Park, a free event that featured live music and free food for all American Veterans.