TAYLOR COUNTY—After it was announced that the annual Veterans Day Parade would be put on pause this year, as the community continues to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, community members decided to host their own special recognition for veterans.
The sacrifices of former military members weigh heavy on the minds and hearts of individuals of communities across the nation, as folks come together on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to honor American heroes on Veterans Day.
To help honor those locally who have taken on the task of protecting the nation and its citizens, resident Doug Baker came up with an idea to draw attention to their service.
Baker enlisted the assistance of Jamie Seargeant, who helped organize a tribute to fallen heroes this past Memorial Day, with a special ride, in hopes of having a similar display on Wednesday.
Bikers, car enthusiasts and ATV/UTV riders are invited to take part in the ride that will travel along the traditional parade route and to the Grafton National Cemetery as a way to honor the brave men and women in the armed forces.
“We have obtained permission from both Grafton Police Chief Bobby Beltner and Taylor County Sheriff Terry Austin to hold a ride that mirrors that of the one we had on Memorial Day,” said Seargeant. “I talked to Gene Riley and Butch Pickens with the VFW to see if they wanted to participate, but they revealed that they are not legally allowed to do so.”
He noted that the former military men wished them well in their endeavor sharing, “They have given us their blessing and expressed their gratitude for our efforts to help honor them.”
Participants will be meeting in Blueville, in the parking lot between Auto Zone and McDonalds at 10:30 a.m., before they will be led by a police escort downtown, along the parade route to the Grafton National Cemetery. The ride is set to hit the streets at 11:00 a.m. sharp.
The procession will then continue on a route to the West Virginia National Cemetery.
According to Seargeant, helmets are not required for motorcycle and ATV/UTV riders, and that decision will be left to each individual’s discretion.
“We are asking that anyone with antique cars and trucks, motorcycles, side-by-sides, ATV’s, or anyone else that would like to take part in the event to come out to show respect to our veterans for all they have done for this country,” voiced Seargent. “It is an honor that is truly deserved for these American heroes.”