No Veteran’s Day Parade for Fullerton

Marilyn Harris, the commander of the American Legion in Fullerton, spoke at the City Council meeting on November 7.  She welcomed the council and the public to participate in the 36th annual Veterans Day ceremony on Saturday, 11 o’clock at the Hillcrest Park great lawn and fountain.

“Unfortunately, we will not have a parade this year. That is not what the Committee wanted to happen,” said Harris.

The Veterans Day event was begun and hosted by the Fullerton Emblem Club in 1988. In 1999, due to public demand, the American Legion Post and the Fullerton Veterans of Foreign Wars agreed to coordinate the event and have a parade as a joint venture. The City became a co-sponsor with limitations on the parade size to avoid the need for the full closure of Harbor Blvd. We agreed to keep it small with only veterans, VIPs, a band, and the five JROTC units from the High School District.

In the past, we included a few vehicles for disabled veterans to participate in the parade. That ended when the military restricted the use of their vehicles. We built safety protocols with all participants into our program with student leadership contracts and an in-depth look at risk assessment for the total event. “Our Risk Manager does Risk Management for a very large Army Reserve unit. He is well qualified,” said Harris.

Last year, about three weeks before Veterans Day, the instructors informed me that the district would enforce the physical athletic requirements. They were worried about whether they had time and the families had the money to meet that requirement. Only those who met the requirements could participate. One week out, Fullerton Police LT Bogarts informed Marilyn Harris that the students would not be marching but could have formations on the field due to a District decision.

“As you probably noticed, our formations were smaller than usual. Only two students were there instead of 300-400 students from Troy High School. As a mother, my heart broke for those two students,” said Harris.

In May, Marilyn Harris approached the Troy principal at our annual scholarship event with them to see if this year would be different. He said no. Over the summer, Marilyn Harris asked Mayor Pro Tem Whitaker for assistance. After discussing the issues, he said that he was assured that each principal could decide whether to participate in the parade.

At the end of September, Marilyn Harris was told a meeting of the senior instructors had happened and that none of them would be marching. That meant no band. Harris informed Mayor Pro Tem Whitaker that it looked like things had changed. Having had no direct contact with the district about their safety concerns, she called and asked to speak to the high school superintendent. She has still not talked to District leadership.

Due to these factors, the Veterans Day Committee decided that it would not be practical to use city assets to have them support a parade for such a small group of people and no band. The committee leadership’s decision was not to have the formations this year.

“For over 20 years, we have had no problem using the rolling closure process. We are greatly disappointed that the School District leadership has taken this hard line, forcing us to cancel the parade. We hope that they will reconsider next year. We have always intended to have a multi-generational event. We hope they will change direction in the future,” said Harris.

11 replies »

  1. Cars were zipping by cadets with a foot.then kids were falling over left and right during the ceremony due to the excessive heat and long-winded speeches. Schools were told Harbor would be shut down for a parade the schools were told the week before they wouldn’t close Harbor. Kids came that wanted to come attended.

  2. It’s Veterans Day, not band day. The Veterans are (should be) the reason people come to the parade.

  3. Very unfortunate. I look forward to representing the Navy each year in the Fullerton parade. Sadly when I showed up to assemble with the other vets I was informed that there would be no parade.

    Fortunately I had the opportunity to attend the ceremony held in my home town of Anaheim instead. I hope the city will reconsider bringing it back in the future. It means a lot to many of us.

  4. Certainly this matter should be looked into from an objective perspective. Lets see a written report from each of these organizations that, for the most part, are funded with the people’s money in the name of and on behalf of the people. Starting with the School District officials along with the FPD and City departments.
    Where has common sense gone ?

  5. The article says that the district imposed the “physical athletic requirements.” Does anyone know what that is?

    I’m a current high school music director. Our students spend dozens of after school hours on the field practicing.

    • I was in the marching band (during the 1990s) all 4 years of HS in PYLUSD and we needed a physical every year. It sounds like maybe FJUHSD didn’t have that requirement?

      This story seems 1-sided and the author didn’t seem to get a statement from city council or the principals. lived down the street from the park the past 13 years and I did not know there was a parade. Could it be the high schools saw attendance dwindling and pulled support? Students and staff probably didn’t love having to work/be somewhere on a district holiday?

      • It is mostly from one of the organizers point of view. I wanted to let people know what to expect at the Veteran’s Day Ceremony.

  6. We should give the veterans a little more respect in state to blame them for their kids we should look to see what they did for this country
    You are blaming them for their kids but how about your kids?
    Are they any different than his kids?
    With a little respect of each other this country will be better
    Blame yourself for what is happening and try to do better
    Respect the older generation one day we hope to get there to

  7. This is ridiculous! I am retired now, but used to direct band, orchestra and choir at the intermediate and high school level. There is no greater motivator than these events to get students engaged and on track in school. A physical requirement? What is the big deal with that? It can be worked into the rehearsals. Are our kids so screwed up these days that they cannot walk briskly for several miles while playing a wind instrument? We are raising generations of walking dead. I find this horrifying, being 76 and still physically fit. What are you whiny educators doing? Our kids are getting worse and worse on exams, and can neither read nor write. Now I hear teachers will not be required to take the traditional exams.
    You need to rethink this idiocy!. You are remarkably lazy, and just shooting yourselves in the foot! Or are you afraid the clot shot could cause them to drop dead along the parade route….now I see what is going on!

    • Blame yourself. Your generation raised the generation that babied these children.

      How idiotic you must be to see everything as someone else’s fault.

      • Perhaps, instead of calling everyone idiots, it’s better to look at the underlying factors as to why students can’t/won’t participate?

        All these pointing fingers are toxic and shift responsibility rather than working as a COMMUNITY o fix the problem.

        You sound like brats.

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