Despite dropping temperatures, the annual Leavenworth County Veterans Day Parade was a big success, one organizer said.
The 94th annual Leavenworth County Veterans Day Parade was held Monday in downtown Leavenworth.
"We had a good turnout," said Charley Shoemaker, chairman of the executive committee for the parade.
Shoemaker said he wanted to thank everyone who braved the weather out of respect for those who have served in the armed forces and those who are still serving.
Shoemaker estimated about 15,000 people turned out to watch the parade which featured soldiers from Fort Leavenworth, area high school bands and numerous other participants.
"It's a big deal," he said of the parade.
Diane Smith, secretary for the Leavenworth County Veterans Day Parade Committee, said there were more than 170 entries signed up for this year's parade.
Shoemaker said there were a few participants who didn't show up. But there also were entries that showed up Monday morning that organizers hadn't been expecting.
Shoemaker said he had been hoping the parade would be over by the time a cold front reached Leavenworth. But temperatures began to drop during the parade. However, Shoemaker said people always turn out no matter the weather.
"The citizens, they never fail to show up," Shoemaker said.
He said the annual parade is one of the oldest in the country and largest west of the Mississippi River.
"It seems like every year, they get bigger," he said.
And Shoemaker ought to know, he's been on the parade committee since 1966. He said the parade wasn't as large back then.
In the past, the parade has had a flyover with military aircraft. Shoemaker said with the recent government shutdown and sequestration cuts, a military flyover couldn't be arranged.
But the parade still had a flyover this year with two airplanes from the World War II era.
The grand marshal for this year's parade was Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr. He is the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency at Fort Meade, Md.