Russellville Veterans Day parade goes on 2020 COVID-19 hiatus

For the past 12 years, members of the Franklin County community have gathered in downtown Russellville to celebrate and honor local veterans. This year community members will have to find new ways to celebrate Veterans Day because of COVID-19.

The Veterans Day Parade and subsequent veterans’ reception, normally put on by the American Legion and VFW Post 5184, are cancelled for this year because of the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

“We figured it would be the best decision to make, especially since a lot of the people we honor are probably in the more vulnerable population,” explained American Legion member Johnny Pounders.

Pounders said the parade, which typically occurs on the Sunday before Veterans Day, is how the Russellville community shows support for local veterans.

“It is always great to see so many people come out to support,” Pounders said. “We are really going to miss it this year.”

The parade typically runs down Jackson Avenue from the Big Star parking lot to Cotaco Street before turning left and making its way down Washington Avenue back to the A.W. Todd Center for the reception.

VFW Post 5184 typically hosts a reception for veterans and their families following the parade, but Pounders said this has also been canceled.

Despite not having the parade, veterans will still be honored on Jackson Avenue by hanging banners with faces of local veterans.

These banners, sold earlier this year by the American legion and Franklin County Archives, will be displayed for a few weeks in November to honor local veterans.

“I think this is a great honor to all of these people who definitely deserve it,” said Franklin County Archives Director Chris Ozbirn. “It will be awesome to go through downtown and see everyone who served displayed.”