World War II veterans special focus of parade

There was a time when men and women returning home from war weren’t thanked for their service.

Today, though, veterans receive appreciation and often are considered heroes.

On Sunday, World War II veterans will serve as the grand marshals of the 70th annual V-J Day Parade in Seymour.

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It will be a time to thank them for their service, said John Schafstall, who is in his third year as commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925 in Seymour, which sponsors the parade.

“This is the 70th year, and World War II veterans, there’s not many of them left. Most of them are in their 90s, so we’re trying to really honor the 70th year,” he said.

“I think a lot of people are starting to understand a lot of people gave their lives and they really ought to appreciate what they have done, especially the World War II veterans,” he added. “Thousands of them never came back.”

During the parade, the World War II veterans will either be on a float or in a van. Schafstall expects to have around a dozen of them participating. He said any World War II veteran is invited to meet between noon and 12:20 p.m. at Seymour High School to be a part of the parade.

The parade is conducted to commemorate the country’s victory against Japan and the end of World War II in 1945 and to honor all veterans. Schafstall said he thinks the parade is the only one in America that honors World War II veterans that has been conducted for 70 consecutive years.

Leaving the high school, the parade will travel on Second Street, turn left at Walnut Street and go north a few blocks before heading back to the school.

Also participating will be local high school bands, military bands, military units, vehicles and more.

“There’s a lot more military stuff this year than normal,” Schafstall said.

Last year’s parade also had a lot of special military participants, but there was a constant downpour during the nearly hourlong event. Schafstall said he is hoping for good weather this year.

“I hope people come out and support the veterans,” he said.

Before the parade, around 11 a.m., a meal will be served at the VFW post, 311 S. Jackson Park Drive. A dinner will be conducted after the parade at the post.

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What: 70th annual V-J Day Parade

When: 1 p.m. Sunday

Where: Route will go from Seymour High School to Second Street to Walnut Street and back to the school.

Who: World War II veterans will serve as the grand marshals; veterans wishing to participate may call John Schafstall at 812-522-1207 or 812-525-2237 or go to the high school between noon and 12:20 p.m. Sunday.