ROCKINGHAM — For more than a year, Robin Roberts has been wanting to have a parade in Richmond County to honor veterans.
Thursday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary to Post 4203 got the permit from the city.
“All kinds of people have already called me,” she said about the response from posting a photo of the permit on Facebook. “That was my dream when I joined the Auxiliary was to have a parade, because they deserve one.”
Roberts, who is now president of the Auxiliary, said her drive to join and help veterans was to honor her brother — a former Army Ranger and Purple Heart recipient who retired after 30 years in the military.
“I’ve got some people on board, but I want to get a whole lot more,” she said.
Over the past three months of pre-planning, she said several organizations — including AMVETS and Daughters of the American Revolution — have expressed interest in taking part in the parade.
Roberts said she has also been in contact with the band and Army JROTC unit at Richmond Senior High School, Boy and Girl Scout troops, the local National Guard Armories, the Rockingham Fire Department, a taekwondo class and both the Ol Skool and Wingmen motorcycle clubs about participating.
The parade is set to begin at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, in front of the old Richmond County courthouse, with a prayer and “The Star Spangled Banner” performed by Charity Davis.
The route will take the parade down East Franklin Street, around First United Methodist Church on to East Washington Street and through Harrington Square before ending at the Department of Social Services parking lot.
Roberts said she is trying to secure the Black Daggers — the official U.S. Army Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team — to perform a jump, landing in the old Lowe’s building parking lot.
Last November, Lacy Shepard, of AMVETS Post 316, lamented the fact that there was no Veterans Day parade in Richmond County.
“We used to do parades, but the city said it was too expensive, so they stopped them years ago,” he told the Daily Journal. “We would like to have one, all these other towns do one. We shouldn’t have to do our own acknowledgements. The city should do it for us.”
Rockingham Mayor Steve Morris said that the city hasn’t discussed the issue in the last 15 years.
Roberts is excited for the upcoming event and welcomes anyone interested in participating to email her at [email protected]
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_toler.