America’s oldest Veterans Day observance

Enjoy a beautiful video of the Veterans Day Parade


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The Leavenworth, Kansas, VA invites you to watch this uplifting video with stirring narration by VA Secretary Robert Wilkie (from an earlier Veterans Day).

Veterans Day in Leavenworth, Kansas, features the 101st annual parade. It is touted as the largest Veterans Day Parade west of the Mississippi. Leavenworth hosts the oldest Veterans Day observance in the nation.

From the Leavenworth Times Nov. 11, 1919, one hundred years ago:

Tuesday, November 11, 1919

“Business Will be Suspended in City Today. All To Join In The Welcome Home Celebration.”

The first parade/observance was on Nov. 11, 1919. Leavenworth business owner William Small of the William Small and Company Dry Goods organized the event. All businesses, including banks, closed, as well as all public schools.

All downtown store front windows displayed patriotic themes. Business owners unveiled their displays at 11 a.m. for judging. The Hines Band gave a concert at Fourth and Delaware Streets. Community singing and athletic contests took place until 2:20 p.m. Then, automobiles and civic organizations began a line of parade from the courthouse. 

The Leavenworth JROTC participated in the parade.

VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System Director:

“Nothing makes me prouder than to witness our community’s overwhelming support and admiration for our nations heroes,” states Rudy Klopfer, director and CEO of VA Eastern Kansas.

“Even during the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, it’s the powerful moments such as this parade, that remind me of our never-ending responsibility to serve our Veterans.”

VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System

The VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System is a two-division, Joint Commission-accredited, health care system. It serves Veterans throughout 20,000 square miles and 37 counties in eastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri. In addition to the two main campuses located in Topeka and Leavenworth, it operates six Rural Health Clinics in Kansas, located in Chanute, Fort Scott, Garnett, Junction City, Kansas City, and Lawrence. It also includes two clinics in Missouri, in Platte City and St. Joseph. VA EKHC has nearly 2000 full time employees providing care to approximately 40,000 Veteran patients.


Joseph Burks is a public affairs officer for the Leavenworth VAMC. Burks coordinated the story with the Leavenworth County Veterans Day Parade Committee. Video by Jake Meyer, a visual information specialist for the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System.

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VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

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