It was a simple idea that prompted a big response as Oakdale’s VFW and Auxiliary, Post 2922 hosted its Inaugural Veterans Day Parade on Monday, Nov. 12. The event began on Lee Avenue and traveled west down Pontiac Street to conclude at Fish Park.
Oakdale Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2922 Commander Dan Vigil was the grit behind the event. He noted he reached out to the Oakdale City Council as well as the community for support of an event which he felt is long overdue. Much to his delight a total of over 30 entries participated in the first time parade.
“I have experience with doing parades with the Oakdale Rodeo, so I knew it had to be done and how to do it,” Vigil said. “The city backed it and I appreciate the city for doing that. I’m just going to continue it.”
Sponsors such as Sconza Candy called Vigil in the final hours to participate. A call which was further proof for the veteran that the parade is here to stay and will become a regular part of Veterans Day observances for the community.
From volunteer Brandi Hardman collecting signatures of two-thirds of the residents along Pontiac to give the okay, to community encouragement, Vigil knew he was on to something.
“Cherilyn Bairos, she was my big supporter,” he said of the community activist and City Council member. “I’ve gone to several (parades), but I’ve always wanted to have one in Oakdale.”
With the inaugural one in the books, Vigil is already looking forward.
“It’s most important to me to keep the gathering going,” Vigil stated, adding that he would like to add onto the monument placed at Fish Park to honor additional wars beyond Vietnam.
Vigil shared the support of the people, as well as those from more recent wars as valuable to not only the VFW organization but the community as well.
The parade was scheduled for a 9 a.m. start on Monday morning, Nov. 12 – which was the official observance of the Veterans Day holiday – and was followed by a ceremony at Fish Park with guest speakers and a flag retirement ceremony, social time and a luncheon.