Loyalty Day parade set for Sunday in New Lenox
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com April 30, 2014 6:26PM
Updated: June 2, 2014 1:04PM
New Lenox veterans will celebrate Loyalty Day just as they have for the past 36 years — with their annual parade, followed by free refreshments at the VFW Post.
The 36th Annual William Athens 18th District VFW Post Loyalty Day Parade will step off rain or shine at 2 p.m. Sunday from Lions Den Park, 520 S. Cedar Road. It will proceed north to Haven Avenue and west to Veterans Parkway, ending in the Commons. The reviewing stand will be at Cedar and Haven.
The public is invited to VFW Post 9545, 323 Old Hickory Road, New Lenox, after the parade for free hot dogs, refreshments, raffles and music supplied by a disc jockey, Quartermaster Larry Paveza said.
No parking will be allowed on Haven Avenue, South Cedar Road, Roy Street and Veterans Parkway after 8 a.m. Sunday, and access to the parade route will be restricted after 12:30 p.m., according to New Lenox police.
With more than 70 entries, the parade will feature several veterans groups and vehicles, as well as bands from all four Lincoln-Way high schools, and Martino and Liberty junior high schools, parade chairwoman Sharon Stratton said.
“This is a day to honor our flag and our veterans and remember why they are important,” she said. “The parade is a nice tradition. It’s the first parade of the year and a nice way to welcome spring. If the weather cooperates, it’s a great day for spectators.”
A congressional resolution on July 18, 1958 designated the first of May as Loyalty Day — to reaffirm loyalty to the United States and recognize the heritage of American freedom.
“As a veteran, it means that I support my country and am loyal to my country,” said Paveza, a Navy veteran. “I hope this country continues to grow strong. I am proud to be an American.”
The annual parade also is a great way to honor veterans, he said. Many troops are returning home with “a lot of problems,” including post-traumatic stress disorder, he said.
Officials from the Disabled American Veterans are at the VFW Post from 8:30 a.m. to noon every Tuesday to help veterans file claims, Paveza said.