CHARLESTON, W.Va.-- Charleston's Veterans Day Parade on Saturday has been designated as a model for the rest of the country's celebrations of veterans.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs selected Charleston as one 62 regional sites across the nation to stand out during this year's Veterans Day observance.
Edward Converse, parade organizer for American Legion John Brawley Post No. 20, said the recognition couldn't have come at a better time, as the parade celebrates its 70th anniversary in the capital city.
The parade will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Kanawha Boulevard E. and Leon Sullivan Way. Participants will march north on Leon Sullivan to Quarrier Street, turn left onto Truslow Street and end at Haddad Riverfront Park.
Cmdr. Adam D. Palmer, commanding officer of the ballistic missile submarine USS West Virginia, is parade grand marshal and will speak at Haddad at about 11 a.m., Converse said. Several other members of the nuclear missile boat's crew will be there, as well.
This is the first time Charleston has been selected as a standout city.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki sent Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin a letter this summer announcing the decision.
"With your support, I know that Veterans Day celebrations throughout West Virginia will remind veterans of our sincere gratitude for their service and sacrifice," Shinseki wrote.
Converse, who served in the U.S. Army's 3rd Armored Division in Germany during the Cold War, said it's an honor to have Charleston's efforts recognized in honoring veterans.