PRINCETON, WV (WOAY) – The yearly Veterans Day Parade in Princeton was brought back again after a brief hiatus last year due to COVID-19.
Locals lined up along Mercer Street where they got to see veterans, marching bands, and others head through the city. It even featured a real WWII jeep from the Mercer County War Museum.
The parade ended after reaching the Mercer County Memorial Building, where a special ceremony would then take place.
Every year, an organization called Honor Flight works to bring veterans to Washington D.C. A regional variant in West Virginia is called Always Free Honor Flight.
Each Veterans Day, Always Free Honor Flight dedicates bricks at the Mercer County Memorial Building. This year, 73 new bricks were installed and dedicated to local veterans.
“This is the Always Free Walk of Honor,” Board Member Marie Blackwell said. “We’re unveiling the new bricks that were donated and given in honor or in memory of a serviceman or woman that served our country.”
Bricks that are purchased and dedicated to a veteran have their proceeds go to Always Free Honor Flight, giving more local veterans a chance to visit Washington D.C. free of charge.
According to the Co-Coordinator for Always Free Honor Flight, it’s their goal to have these bricks serve as a permanent reminder to the sacrifices veterans gave.
“My father was in WWII, my uncle was in Korea, my brother was in Vietnam, and my husband’s brother served in WWII in the Navy. It means a lot to me that I can come here anytime and look at my family’s bricks to know the sacrifices they made to keep this country free.”
The ceremony concluded with remarks from Bluefield City Manager Harry Marson, who is a retired Colonel with the US Army.
“Right now 26 million veterans walk among us. And on this day our nation thanks them all.”
Afterwards, the names of the 73 veterans added to the Walk of Honor were listed off one by one.
The Walk of Honor at the Mercer County Memorial Building features bricks with the names of veterans from all kinds of time periods, even all the way back to the time of the Revolutionary War.