Vietnam Veterans to Take Over Veterans Parade in 2014

Published 11/11 2013 05:41PM

Updated 11/11 2013 07:02PM

BRANSON, Mo. -- Demographic shifts are changing a longstanding tradition for former soldiers.

For 80 years, the American Legion Post 220 has facilitated the annual Veterans Day Parade in Branson. But an aging membership prompted the organization to make 2013 its last year.

Next year, the Vietnam Veterans Association will take control of the parade. Ron Summers the commander of the local VVA chapter, said he hoped his group could continue the success of the Legion.

“Their numbers have dwindled away,” he explained. “They'll be turning it over to us for a few years. Hopefully we can turn it over to somebody else down the line.”

The annual fanfare of the veterans parade symbolizes a city's mission to recognize veterans.
It's part of the reason Ted Higgenbotham, a WWII Veteran, moved to Branson.

"I wish that everybody could have been here and seen this parade,” he said. “It is the nicest, biggest parade that I’ve ever seen."

Higgenbotham said he looks for other WWII veterans to speak with every year, but that it was becoming harder and harder to spot them in a crowd.

“It makes me feel kind a lonesome, to tell you the truth,” he said.

Summers said the VVA would not change much about the parade next year. He said the parade represents a commitment to veterans and their families who visit annually.

“Branson honors veterans all year long and it's a great town,” he said. “They make a veteran feel at home.”

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