HAVERHILL — This is a tale of two parades — and the role of veterans in both of them.
One is the Veterans Day Parade, which will be Sunday. Organizers are hoping to draw a bigger crowd than in past years to honor Haverhill people who served in the military.
The other is the annual Santa Parade, which is Nov. 18. Organizers of that event said they are having trouble finding veterans to march in the parade and support the theme “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”
Organizers of the Veterans Day Parade are encouraging the public to come out for the event Sunday. They said the parade may not have all the glitz of the annual Santa Parade, which draws a huge crowd, but veterans deserve more thanks from the community than they receive.
Organizers are also issuing a plea for all Haverhill veterans to take part in the parade. Along with various groups of marchers, there will be antique vehicles, the American Legion float, a World War II Jeep pulling a 37-mm cannon, and other military equipment and vehicles.
”Every day should be ‘thank the veterans day,’” said John Kazarosian, a World War II veteran who has been in charge of the parade for 20 years and will again serve as emcee.
As Kazarosian and his helpers make preparations for that parade, the city is bracing for its 48th annual VFW Santa Parade, sponsored by Lorraine Post 29, which is Nov. 18 starting at 1 p.m. in front of the Bradford Fire Station. Santa Parade organizers said they are having difficulty finding recently returning veterans who are willing to participate. They are asking the public to spread the word to veterans.
Thomas Sullivan, vice chairman of the Santa Parade Committee, said he hopes to welcome home local veterans and have them participate.
”We’ve done outreach through our local veterans agent and veterans council, but we haven’t received many positive responses to date,” Sullivan said. “We will, of course, have our local veteran organizations marching, as we always do. But this year we are hoping to feature veterans that have just come home.”