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Regional News

Veterans Day Parades Face Declining Interest In Western Massachusetts

The 2016 Veterans Day parade in Northampton, Mass.
file photo
/
Daily Hampshire Gazette
The 2016 Veterans Day parade in Northampton, Mass.

Northampton, Massachusetts, won't be holding a parade on Veterans Day this year — in part because of declining attendance.

It's not the only city seeing that trend.

It will be the first time in decades that Northampton has not held the annual parade.

Brad LeVay is president of the Veterans Council of Northampton. He said they had a hard time getting enough vets to march.

"Most of the World War II veterans, they can't walk in a parade," he said. "And not only that, the crowd — the citizens — are not there any more," he said.

LeVay said younger veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seem less interested in participating.

Springfield will hold a parade again this year, but Charly Lawrence, deputy director of the city's veterans services, said attendance has been dropping there, too.

"We find there are far more people in the parade than there are lining the streets," she said. "State Street is almost empty, as though it wasn't even a parade at all that day."

Lawrence said she and her colleagues plan to carry on with an annual parade as long as they can.

The Northampton vets say they hope to revive their parade in the future.