BRYAN COUNTY – As with everything it seems in 2020, the usual way of recognizing and honoring veterans on Veterans Day will look a little different this year.
But the ‘honoring’ part of the day will still take place.
There will not be a parade in downtown Durant this year. The local chapter of the DAV and VFW will be hosting a service to remember and recognize those who have served this country.
Don Papin, DAV Commander of the Local Chapter and Service Officer and VFW Service Officer, said it was not good to have a parade without a certain group who would not be able to attend.
“We canceled (the parade) with the chamber due to the fact that the kids were going to have a hard time coming down,” Papin said. “If we’re going to hold a parade, we want to have the kids in attendance. And with the COVID-19 thing going around, there were too many precautions and we just couldn’t do it.
“Instead of having the parade, we’re having just the ceremony at 10 a.m. for the veterans. We’re having a guest speakers and everything that we normally do. We don’t have a parade marshall this year, because there is no parade.”
The ceremony will take place at the VFW building, located at 123 S. Second Ave in Durant.
Papin said there would be other events happening around the area, including free meals for veterans on Wednesday, and he mentioned Brown’s Funeral Service and Roadhouse as being among those restaurants.
Brown’s Funeral Service will be hosting veterans with brisket, starting at 10:30 a.m. and serving until they have run out. Roadhouse will be serving sirloin, baked potatoes and more, starting at 11 a.m. and running throughout the day.
There will also be a opportunity to take the recognition to those who cannot come to it.
“At 1:30, we’re having a staging at the Police Department in Durant,” Papin said. “It’s going to be a staging for the Seven Sins Motorcycle Club, they are big supporters, and the Three Valley Riders and the Patriot Guard Riders. It’s open to motorcycles and vehicles.
“We’re going to form a procession, it’s not going to be a parade, it’s going to be nice and quiet. We’re going to go to all five of the nursing/retirement homes here in Durant that have veterans in them. Each one has four or five and we’re going to do a drive-by. We’re going to stop and I’m going to give to the executor of the facility a certificate and a DAV Challenge Coin to give to each veteran.”
Papin said the whole thing should take about an hour and a half and that the procession would go by all five homes.
“They’re all within a mile of the police department and we’ll be able to swing through.
“We got a permit from the city to host this. It’s similar to a prarde, but its not going to be a parade. We’re not going to be honking horns and celebrating. It’s going to be quiet and respectful. The whole idea is to honor these veterans who haven’t had anything since this whole COVID started. They haven’t had visitors – they’ve had nothing.
“The homes are going to bring the veterans outside in front of the home. And we’re not going to stop or intermingle with the veterans. I’m going to give the certificates and coins to whomever is in charge and they can hand them to the veterans so we don’t expose them to anything.”
Papin said the events are open to everyone and that it is important to honor our veterans on this day.