SCOTTSBLUFF – After a yearlong hiatus, the Veterans Day parade was back in Scottsbluff on Thursday, Nov. 11.
Scotts Bluff County Veterans Service Director John Brehm said it was a good day for a parade.
“I think that the sky was so blue you look up there you could really see the helicopters fly over. That was just magnificent,” Brehm said.
From the ROTC cadets to the marching bands, Brehm said everything went very well.
The only downside was the howling wind which lasted throughout the parade. Brehm joked the VFW normally assigns someone to take care of the weather for the parade each year.
Brehm said they also hosted two programs in the afternoon to honor local veterans.
Before the pandemic hit, Brehm was worried about the lack of interest in the community for the parade. When it was cancelled, however, he said the community was extremely disappointed.
“[last year], our county Public Health person said she didn’t think it was a good idea because you had one band go through and about four minutes later you got another band going through blowing their horns, so we just didn’t feel it was a good idea,” Brehm said.
This year there was a good turnout of people lining the streets to see the parade, and the excitement was visible from the students in the five marching bands.
“I think the kids really enjoyed it because they were dancing and singing. I think they were having fun and that’s good to see,” Brehm said. “We want them to have fun at the parade.”
Brehm, who is retiring at the end of the year as director, was selected as the Grand Marshall.
“They made me parade marshall against my wishes. They told me they had a place for me in the parade I thought they I was going to ride the horses,” Brehm said. “But they made me parade marshall instead which was an honor. I appreciated it.”
Brehm said at 78 years old he feels it is time to move on, but he has been letting others help plan the parade in hopes the tradition will carry on.
The last few years I’ve been trying to delegate more and more of the responsibility of doing some of this stuff,” Brehm said. “Before I wanted to do it all and got to thinking ‘what happens when you’re gone?’ I got other people involved now and they’ll want to do it I hope.”
Although the parade and programs went well, Brehm said the only negative was not getting the veterans home involved this year. Brehm said they normally take them out to coffee, but it was unable to happen again due to concerns about COVID-19. Brehm hopes they can involve them with the program next year.
Overall, Brehm was happy to get back to tradition.
“I just think it was a good day. I think everything went well, and I couldn’t ask for anything better to tell you the truth,” Brehm said.