PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (March 18, 2013) – Vietnam veterans from across the U.S. will be in Pigeon Forge and Sevier County, Tenn., April 15-17 for a series of events that includes the “Welcome Home from Vietnam Parade” in Pigeon Forge.
Adrian Cronauer, the Air Force sergeant who was the inspiration for the 1987 film “Good Morning, Vietnam,” and Barry Rice, president of the Tennessee State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America, are the grand marshals of the April 16 parade.
The U.S. Marine Corps Band from Quantico, Va., is scheduled to lead the parade, which will feature a variety of military-oriented units, civilian floats and groups honoring the veterans.
Also, more than 300 Vietnam veterans have registered to march while their families and friends watch the procession. Those registrants are from 24 states, stretching from Vermont to Texas to Oregon, and organizers expect more.
The parade is a public component of “Welcome Home Vietnam,” an event organized by U.S. Tours in Parkersburg, W.Va. Other aspects of that program are for event registrants only and include special concerts and opportunities for Vietnam veterans to meet with each other.
“All Vietnam veterans are invited to march or ride in the parade at no cost,” said Bob Cline, president of U.S. Tours, adding that the Tennessee National Guard will provide vehicles for veterans who want to ride in the parade.
Parade sign-up is online at WelcomeHomeVietnam.com/registration, and there is reserved parade seating for veterans’ spouses with registration.
The parade starts at 1:30 p.m. April 16 on Jake Thomas Road. It will turn south onto the Parkway and go south past Traffic Light 8 to Dixie Stampede.
Among the parade participants are the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the AMVETS Post 104 Motorcycle Riders Club, Patriot Guard Riders, Tennessee Helping Hearts, the North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapters 596 and 1073.
“This will be the parade they never got, and we invite everyone to show their support,” Cline said.
Contact for the Welcome Home Vietnam program:
Contact for Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism:
Tom Adkinson, APR