Waynesville-Saint Robert Veterans’ Day honors female Vietnam-era vet
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 7:59 am
Today’s Veterans’ Day ceremony will be held outside St. Robert City Hall.
SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (Nov. 11, 2009) — Today’s Veterans’ Day ceremony takes place at 11 a.m. next to the St. Robert city hall flag, which will still be at half-staff in remembrance of the killing of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood by an Army psychiatrist.
“I think it had touched our community,” said Cecilia Murray, executive director of the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce. “We’re hoping that people are going to line the streets during the parade and wave their flags and cheer on our veterans.”
“Being right here at Fort Leonard Wood, there are a lot of people here that know people at Fort Hood, and I think anybody who lives in a community outside of a military installation, anything that happens to the military, no matter where it is in the United States or overseas, it hits home and it really makes you appreciate what you have here in the community,” Murray said.
The ceremony will remain focused on honoring veterans with a speech by the parade grand marshal, Marge Scott, who is curator of the Pulaski County Courthouse Museum and also worked to help establish the St. Robert city museum. Both museums have extensive displays honoring veterans and the military heritage of the Fort Leonard Wood area.
Local officials will hold the traditional 11 a.m. observance — the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, commemorating the time of the armistice that ended World War I — with a slight change. Unlike prior years, the event will begin with a memorial ceremony at the St. Robert Municipal Center on Eastlawn Avenue and be followed by a parade, rather than with the ceremony following the parade.
Traffic will be blocked periodically from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Missouri Avenue and Old Route 66 for the parade, which includes the Waynesville High School marching band and numerous other organizations such as local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops.
Murray said that change was made to improve attendance.
“Over the last several years we’ve noticed a decline in people staying for the ceremony, and we want this to not just be a parade, a celebration, we want people to understand what the day is and that we’re trying to honor the veterans,” Murray said. “The ceremony gives the parade marshal an opportunity to speak a little bit and really brings home what the day is all about.”
This year’s speaker is a Vietnam-era veteran.
“It’s been quite a few years since a female veteran was honored as our parade marshal,” Murray said. “In meeting with both cities, we sat down and started working on the parade and one of the first things we have to do is decide on the parade marshal. We decided pretty early on it was time to honor a female veteran again … Marge Scott, as involved in the community as she is, we felt she would be a prime candidate to be our parade marshal.”
Those arriving for the parade lineup should be dropped off between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. at the Paul’s Furniture parking lot, but no parking will be allowed at that location. Nobody will be allowed into the city hall parking lot unless their vehicle will actually be in the parade.
Those who need to park should put their cars in the Freedom Elementary School parking lot east of city hall and walk to the St. Robert Municipal Center.
Drivers in the Fort Leonard Wood area will find northbound Missouri Avenue closed at Bosa Avenue — the first light south of Eastlawn — from approximately 11:30 a.m. when the parade starts until the parade clears the Ramada intersection. The parade will then turn west on Old Route 66 to Citizens Mortgage, move to the eastbound lane of Old Route 66, and end at the St. Robert Community Center.
“We’re guessing until noon it will be about 30 minutes to get everybody onto Old Route 66. Once we have cleared Missouri Avenue they will then open that back up, but then of course Old Route 66 westbound will be closed until we do the turnaround and everybody is clear,” Murray said. “There are going to be some road closures; we think people will understand.”