Lufkin's cancellation of annual Pineywoods Veteran's Day Parade leaves veterans upset

Lufkin's cancellation of annual Pineywoods Veteran's Day Parade leaves veterans upset
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - In Lufkin, many veterans are disappointed that this year's Pineywoods Veterans Day Parade has been canceled.

After 10 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, Brian Crews was eager to walk in this year's Veteran's Day Parade, but after browsing the web, he saw it wouldn't happen.

"Word went out on social media that promoters of the parade had contacted some of the entries to let them know that there was a lack of participation and so they felt like it was necessary to cancel the parade for Saturday," Crews said.

Crews said canceling the parade was discouraging to him because this is one way the community can show admiration towards every veteran.

"It brings out the community to show respect for the dignity for the men and women who served all branches in the military to provide the safety and freedom that we enjoy every day," Crews said.

However, this year there wasn't much support from the community, and Tara Watson-Watkins, the executive director of the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the public's participation is what the parade needed the most.

"The city this year was fully prepared to have a band or to have a parade, but in order to do that, we have to have participation from our community," Watson-Watkins said.

Watson-Watkins said because there were only 12 entries for this year's parade, the city believed this would be disrespectful to veterans

"It's very important for me to do something the right way especially when it comes to honoring our veterans, and I just did not feel that having a parade with 12 entries was the proper way to honor our veterans."

Leamon Ligon Sr. served as a medic for 24 years and he said more veterans organizations will help communication between veterans and participation increase.

"We don't have too much veterans service organizations in town anymore, which was a primary source in getting veterans and letting them know or pulling them in to participate in things like the Veterans Day Parade, the Christmas Parade, and so on," Ligon said.

City Councilman Robert Shankle said believes communication can solve the problem.

"I think it's a little break down in the communication part because a lot of people hadn't heard about the Veteran's Day Parade going on, but since it's being canceled everybody is hearing about it. I think if we come together, sit down, and plan more we'll get a whole lot more participation," Shankle said.

Next Saturday, the city invites veterans to receive complimentary coffee and cookies at this month's Main Street Monday  from 9 to 11 in the morning.

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