Thousands line the streets of Welch to celebrate our military ve - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Thousands line the streets of Welch to celebrate our military veterans

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WELCH, WV (WVVA) Thousands of people line the streets of downtown Welch to celebrate the sacrifices and service of our military veterans and active service personnel. 

The annual Veterans Day Parade is one of the longest-running celebrations of its type in the country. It started 95 years on Armistice Day to commemorate the ceasefire agreement on the Western Front of WWI, which occurred at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. 

The first Armistice Day was held on November 11, 1919. It was proclaimed by then U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. It became a legal holiday in 1938. Then in 1954 the name was officially changed to Veterans Day. 

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin served as Parade Marshall this year and was also the keynote speaker. Manchin decided to walk the route. 

“Veterans Day gathers us together as a nation to express our deepest gratitude to the men and women who have fought to safeguard our beloved nation and secure the freedoms we enjoy every day. No matter the war, no matter the rank, no matter the duty, every one of our heroic veterans have answered America's call of duty. In times of need, they stepped forward and vowed to protect this country. It is because of our veterans that America remains a beacon for all who love liberty and cherish freedom. The world is truly a better place because of their courage," says Sen Joe Manchin.

Every year trophies are given out for Best Float in the Parade, Best Civic Group, Best Youth Group, and Best Antique Car. After the parade, there was an Open House at the American Legion Post Home on Lower McDowell Street and a Businessmen's Luncheon at the National Guard Armory in Welch.

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