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Annual Veterans Day Parade in Reno

Thursday, November 11, 2021

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Reno's annual Veterans Day Parade, always held on November 11 (rain or shine), is the "official" Veterans Day Parade in Nevada. This is a non-partisan, non-political event to honor the service of our veterans and currently serving members of our military. Parade opening ceremonies begin at 11:11 a.m. Opening ceremonies for 2021 will be near the Virginia Street Bridge, south of the 1st Street intersection. Ceremonies will include a prayer from Chaplin Sherman Baker, the National Anthem will be performed by Louisa Elorreaga, and the ceremony will conclude with an official City of Reno Proclamation. The parade gets under way at about 11:30 a.m. following the opening ceremony.

Veterans Day Parade in Reno, Nevada
Photo © Stan White

The 2021 parade theme is centered on the centennial commemoration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Located at Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb was initially dedicated by the Army on Armistice Day, November 11, 1921, with the burial of an unknown service member from World War I. Over the past century, additional unknowns have been buried at the Tomb, and the site has become a people's memorial that inspires reflection on service, valor, sacrifice, and mourning. The 2021 Grand Marshal is General Bill Burks.

This parade features a large number of entries - ROTC groups from regional high schools, university and high school marching bands, honor guards and other groups representing all the services, other groups wanting to honor the military service of our veterans, and groups representing various veterans' organizations. Any individual or group that attempts to use the parade as a partisan and/or political forum will be denied participation. The public can sign up to enter the parade through Monday, November 8, 2021 at 5 p.m.

The Reno Veterans Day Parade draws big crowds of spectators. Come early if you want to secure a good viewing spot along the parade route. There are places for folding chairs if you come soon enough - otherwise, it becomes standing room only. Besides the regular parade entries, you are likely to see politicians and other dignitaries, both local and from around the state. It is common for the Reno City Council and mayor to attend, along with Nevada state office holders (the governor frequently comes) and U.S. Senators and Representatives.

Reno Veterans Day Parade Route

The parade starts at Liberty Street, flows north on Virginia Street, marches under the Reno Arch and ends at 5th Street. The parade ends between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Veterans Day Virtual Event

The event was held virtually in 2020 due to the pandemic. The City of Reno will again partner this year with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Sierra Nevada Health Care System (VASNHCS) and the Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS) for a virtual Veterans Day Celebration.

The public will be able to watch the live parade and the virtual event on the City of Reno's YouTube page and Charter Spectrum 194 starting on November 11, 2021.

Free RTC bus rides on Veterans Day

The RTC is honoring veterans with free rides on all RTC transit services for everyone on Veterans Day, November 11, 2021. Since it is a Thursday, RTC transit will operate on a regular schedule.

A Brief History of Veterans Day

Armistice Day was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 to commemorate the end of hostilities in WWI (The Great War) with an armistice that went into effect on November 11, 1918 at 11 a.m. Armistice Day was officially recognized as a national holiday with an act passed by Congress on May 13, 1938.

Of course, "the war to end all wars" didn't work out that way. Following WWII and the Korean War, Congress was moved to amend the act of 1938 to be more inclusive and honor American veterans of all wars. On June 1, 1954, the observance became Veterans Day.

Along with Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day and Columbus Day, the actual observance of Veterans Day was moved to create three day weekends. In the case of Veterans Day, the move proved highly unpopular as it diluted the significance of the November 11 date. In 1978, the observance of Veterans Day was returned to November 11, no matter what day of the week on which it falls.

For additional background and details, refer to "History of Veterans Day" from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Day Parade in Virginia City

Virginia City, Nevada, also holds an annual Veterans Day Parade on Thursday, November 11, 2021. The parade begins at 11 a.m. and marches down C Street, Virginia City's main drag.

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