Letter to the Editor: Brandon displays loyalty to Loyalty Day

The coronavirus has us in lockdown, and we are all looking for something to make us smile and have a little fun. Patriots Day was established in 1921, 99 years ago. It was later changed to Loyalty Day. The VFW was in the planning stages of planning our 55th annual Loyalty Day Parade when we were postponed for the safety of the community and staff. 

A week or so before May 3, a thought about having a very scaled-down parade began; could the VFW maybe build a float and drive around Brandon? Not much was said the first few days, then the Monday before the parade all the Post members agreed to do the float, and see if we could get the police, and a firetruck to escort us to draw a little more attention. Our Quartermaster Ron Harris called the police chief and he said he would check with the Mayor, Paul Lundberg. He said, “Yes, can I ride on the float?” We said we would be honored to have him. A phone call to the Fire Department was made and got a confirmation they would have a truck there.

Saturday, May 2 found several members of the VFW and Auxiliary behind the VFW building a float. We were set to go. 

Sunday morning came with clear skies and warm temperatures, a post was made on Facebook about the parade. Eight members of the VFW and six women from the Auxiliary showed up at the Brandon Valley High. There were three police officers and the Mayor waiting for us. The fire department had been called out to a grassfire around noon, so we were not sure they would be able to make it. At 12:55 p.m. six fire trucks pulled into the parking lot. The parade consisted of four police officers in three cars, VFW and Auxiliary float, one pickup truck with a hot air balloon basket and burner, two motorcycles, and six firetrucks.

At 1 p.m. we pulled out of the parking lot and went East on Holly, there were several people along Holly waving and cheering us on. We turned down Sioux Boulevard and then down Aspen Boulevard. We drove out to the neighborhood past the golf course and then spent the next hour driving though most of the neighborhoods in Brandon. We did not go down every street but did make it through the majority of them. I have been living in Brandon for 10 years and there were neighborhoods I had never been in before!

The sirens from the police cars and firetrucks brought people out of their houses, backyards and down the street. They were all waving, cheering and clapping, and lots of huge smiles. One member said he saw a man with a cane walking, stopped and dropped his cane to clap for us. Everywhere you looked, kids were jumping up and down. I am sure that most of these neighborhoods have never had a parade come down their street.

The VFW Commander, Rick Vanden Hoek and members, and the VFW Auxiliary President, Lavonne Schrader, and members want to say a HUGE Thank You to the Mayor, the Police Chief and his four Officers, and Brandon Volunteer Valley Fire Department and all of its members that made the parade and Loyalty Day a huge success. It would not have been a success without you.

There are rumors that since the VFW was not able to have a parade for Loyalty Day, we might try to have a real parade on July 4. Stay tuned for future notices.

Stay safe and healthy. We will make it through this.

Tom Sharpee

VFW Post 4726 Chaplin

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The Brandon Valley Journal
1404 E. Cedar St.
Brandon, SD 57005
(605) 582-9999

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