Sherry Lynn Wright Anderson: Veterans Day Parade canceled, but veterans will be honored

Sherry Lynn Wright Anderson
Special to The Ottawa Herald

My name is Sherry Wright-Anderson, I have been the director of the Veterans Parade for 28 years.

I answered this a month ago but will address it again.

I have been told there are some who are upset that there is no parade this year. However, there is no one more upset about this than myself. I have four family members on our Franklin County Memorial. This is why I took it on when I did, not even know what I was doing in ‘94. Since then it has grown from 10 units to over 200.

So, with people being afraid of COVID-19 and social distancing, and not much of response from participants, the parade was canceled. Not because I wanted to cancel it, but because of many circumstances.

I am not a mask wearer, I am not afraid, but I have friends and family who are, and so I stand for and support them as well as those like myself. Listen, some are truly fearful and do not want to be around others. Some of these are our older veterans.

Those names on the wall fought for our freedom, so that being said I have caught flak from both sides. I stand firm by my decision.

There will still be a Remembrance Reflection with the Laying of the Wreaths, still going on, at the Franklin County Memorial this year. It will take place 11 a.m. Nov. 7. I will honor our veterans till I die; they fought for my rights.

Remember, there will also be many things going on Nov. 1 through the Nov. 14 at City Park. On Veterans Day there will be a closing ceremony you won’t want to miss as well as a flag retirement.

We have tried very hard to make sure our veterans are honored this year. Mike Ott, Ray Shumate, Cora Thompson, the rest of the committee and I believe the City Park events will be a great tribute to our veterans.

Whatever the decision made this year regarding the parade, some people would be upset with me. Please, understand it takes many to do this event, not only our committee but participants from several surrounding states.

Remember freedom is not free and doing the right thing is not always easy. So I take full responsibility for this year’s parade cancellation. But we will honor our veterans the best we can under the circumstances. Be there for their support on Nov. 7. Come early, and be praying for our country.

Thanks for your understanding and please know this will not happen again on my watch fear or no fear. I stand for the red, white and blue.

P.S.: A question. If you had a chance to do the parade, and then even one person became sick and died of COVID, how would you feel?

Sherry Lynn Wright Anderson is a member of the Veterans Day Parade Committee and Board.