LAYTON — After 11 years in Ogden, Northern Utah’s annual Veterans Day Parade is headed south — and organizers say this year it will have a monumental ending.
The 12th annual parade is set for Veterans Day, Nov. 11 with the procession beginning at 11:11 a.m. — all a symbolic gesture to the exact moment the World War I Armistice was signed 99 years ago. The armistice ended combat in The Great War and Armistice Day became an annual holiday in the United States, eventually renamed Veterans Day to honor those who participated in all of America's wars.
Dennis Howland, president of the Northern Utah chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America and head organizer of the parade, said staging will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Talbot Drive and Elm Street. The route will head west on Gentile Street, then north up Wasatch Drive before ending at the Layton Commons Park, 437 N. Wasatch Drive.
The parade is scheduled to conclude at 1:30 p.m. and will be followed by a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.
Howland said the monument will be about 80 percent of the size of the original wall in Washington D.C. and will have the names of all 58,000-plus Americans who died fighting in Vietnam etched into it.
“If you put it onto a football field, it would touch both goal posts,” he said.
The wall is manufactured by a Texas-based company called American Veterans Traveling Tribute. Howland has been working to fund construction of the monument for several years, holding fundraisers, selling personalized bricks that will be placed around the wall and canvassing support from private donors.
Earlier this year, the Utah State Legislature made a one-time appropriation of $100,000 to help fund the wall.
“It’s been a challenge, raising the money we need,” Howland said. “We still have a ways to go, but we’re at a stage with our funding where we’re comfortable ordering the wall and moving forward with the groundbreaking.”
Howland said he’s raised about $430,000 so far, just shy of his initial $500,000 goal.
The wall will be erected on a vacant patch of land on the north end of Commons Park. Layton City donated the land, will help with some of the construction and will donate some other infrastructure, according to Mayor Bob Stevenson.
“It will be a great addition to our park,” Stevenson said. “We’ve been on board with the idea from the beginning. It’s going to be a landmark, not just for Layton, but for the entire county and the entire state.”
Howland said it will take about four months to engrave the wall and another two months to treat its exterior. He hopes it will be dedicated by mid-July.