NORMAN — Bus loads of veterans, motorcycle groups, car clubs and large military transports are some of the participants coming to this year’s Veterans Parade in Norman. In celebration of the holiday Monday, the Saturday parade will start at the First Baptists Church and end at the Cleveland County Veterans Memorial in the southwest corner of Reaves Park, 2501 Jenkins Ave.
“The kids are in school on Monday and we wanted a weekend,” parade chair Roger Gallagher said. “We are doing it Saturday, and we have two Oklahomans who are going to be the grand marshal and the emcee.”
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Harry “Bud” Wyatt III will serve as parade grand marshal and the keynote speaker at the memorial.
Gallagher said his father was a Korean War veteran, and the focus of the event this year is the Korean War.
Brigadier Gen. Gregory Ferguson will be the emcee.
The parade will start at 10 a.m. and will be about a quarter-mile long. Twenty-four complete units and about 95 vehicles of various assortment — from military to civilian — will participate, Gallagher said.
“The Canadian River Cruisers are a big part of this,” he said.
A native Oklahoman, parade marshal and keynote speaker, Wyatt has had a distinguished career.
Wyatt was born and raised in Stillwater. He graduated from Stillwater High School in 1967.
He attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he played football and baseball. His degree was in business administration.
“I went into the Air Force,” he said. “Vietnam was going on, and I opted to enlist in the United States Air Force in 1971 after I graduated college.”
Wyatt’s father served in World War II and in Korea. In WWII, the elder Wyatt was an enlisted man in the Army Air Corps.
“They did not have an Air Force back in World War II,” the younger Wyatt said. “He was an engine mechanic on B-29s.”