Fayetteville Veterans Day parade airs on WRAL

For the fifth year, WRAL-TV and UNC-TV will broadcast the 2016 Fayetteville Veterans Day Parade, presented by the Cumberland County Veterans Council and the City of Fayetteville.

Live coverage begins at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5. WRAL anchors Brian Shrader and Lena Tillett, along with Fayetteville reporter Gilbert Baez will host the broadcast from historic downtown Fayetteville. The parade will also be streamed live on WRAL.com.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Honoring our Greatest Generation," and will honor veterans from World War II. CSM Kenneth “Rock” Merritt, a World War II veteran, is this year’s Grand Marshal.

World War II raged on as Clyde Mitchell prepared to graduate from Broughton High School in Raleigh. Mitchell is one of the members of the Greatest Generation, the group being honored this weekend. He said the real honor belongs with the more than 400,000 Americans who died serving the United States in World War II.

“I don't know anyone who ever complained about going into the service. I graduated high school on a Wednesday and joined the Navy the following Monday. It was time, and everybody wanted to go,” he said.

The ship that Mitchell called USS Chicago home in the final year of the war. Because of his time there, he said he witnessed history and the signing of Japan's surrender.

“Because of that surrender, there were going to be millions of lives that were going to be saved,” Mitchell said. “I don't think I've ever talked to or met a combat veteran who felt like they were a hero because they'd tell you the same thing. The real heroes are the ones who didn't get to come home."

The parade will have more than 100 participants including active duty military, numerous veterans’ organizations, military equipment, and ROTC units and marching bands from local high schools and universities. The parade will begin on Hay Street at the Airborne Special Operations Museum and end at Liberty Point on Person Street.

It will be followed by the 8th annual Salute To Veterans ceremony outside the museum where the Fayetteville Police Department's Explorers will lay a wreath for the fallen soldiers from the infamous Battle of the Bulge and author and World War II veteran 101st Airborne Division Machine Gunner Vincent Speranza will be the guest speaker.

The official hashtag of the parade is: #WRALVetParade. The WRAL Production crew will be tweeting and sharing behind-the-scenes content before, during and after the broadcast. Please join in!

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