KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Midwesterners will have an outstanding opportunity to say thank you to all who have served in the United States Military during the 2012 American Royal Parade.
The annual downtown Kansas City spectacle will be highlighted and kicked off by a 10 a.m. flyover of two United States Air Force A-10s on Saturday, Sept. 29, heading north on Grand Boulevard from Pershing Road to 13th Street; it will feature entries from active and retired military as well as marching bands, drill teams, 500 Boy Scouts, 4H and FFA and many other youth-oriented activities.
The Midwest is traditionally patriotic and supportive of the military, and the American Royal wants to say thank you to those who have served, regardless of their branch of the service and including all time periods.
The theme, “The American Royal, Kansas City and American Agriculture Pay Tribute to the American Military,” is a way to tie in many things that are associated with the annual American Royal fall season, which runs Sept. 6-Nov. 17 in the West Bottoms.
“Since 1899, the American Royal’s mission has been to support youth and education because that is the future of our nation,” said Bob Petersen, American Royal president and CEO. “The military has provided us the freedom to do this for many generations … freedom that also allowed our nation’s farmers to provide a bounty of food that fed our population. Without our military, none of this would have been possible. It is time we focused on saying thank you.”
From world wars more than a half century ago to the battles in locales like Afghanistan and Iraq, much has been sacrificed by members of the military and their families.
“The American Royal has been doing a parade for 87 years, and our focus has always been on youth, education and agriculture,” said Bryden Becker, American Royal’s director of Festival Events & Promotions. “We were very fortunate that our mayor, Sly James, who is a Marine, was willing to send out an invitation on our behalf to every commander and post within 250 miles, asking if they would do the city the honor of being in this parade. The mayor’s personal invitation has helped to establish this parade as a must-attend event.”
The parade is a mile and a half route that will be celebrating many of the things that many Midwesterners value. The United States military has kept our lives free; American agriculture has produced a bounty that is the envy of the world; and youth leadership delivers a successful future.
The title sponsor for this year’s parade is Cerner Corp.
“We are very pleased with the support Cerner has given the American Royal this year and in the past,” Petersen said. They are a great Kansas City institution and have a significant interest in recruiting former military members for future employment.”
The Parade embodies the spirit of the American Royal, a charitable organization designed to support youth, education and Heartland values. This reflects the primary mission of the American Royal for more than 110 years, day in and day out. It’s the foundation for the fall season of events; whether it’s the barbecue, the rodeo, the livestock and the equine competitions, it’s all captured in a parade that celebrates the best the Midwest has to offer.
The parade will feature Grand Marshal Ike Skelton, the former U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 4th Congressional District. While in Congress, Skelton served as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
“This is all about providing the biggest thank you the greater Kansas City area can possibly give to the American military,” Becker said.
From the large number of Boy Scouts to the A-10s out of Whiteman Air Force Base, there is a large contingency that will be a major player in the overall appearance of the parade, which includes the 9th Marine Corps with more than 100 troops and vehicles; Gold Star families and the Patriot Guard riders; Veterans Administration; VFW; farm equipment; 4H and FFA participants; Fort Riley soldiers; international officers from Fort Leavenworth; marching bands and drill teams from high schools and military academies; the Kansas National Guard 35th Infantry Division Band; and Junior ROTC units from all over.
“We are working hard to make this the kind of thank you that Kansas City and the Heartland want to give,” Becker said.