On Saturday, Sept. 14, the Neosho community will have the chance to show their gratitude to the area's military and emergency personnel in the city's second attempt at a Patriot Day Parade.

The idea for the Patriot Day parade came from Kevin Wilson and his fellow Neosho Exchange Club members, who were looking for a way to show their appreciation for service men and women.

"I think it's always appropriate to honor people who sacrifice so much for the rest of us," Wilson said. "You can never say 'thank you' enough to people who are willing to sacrifice everything for you."

The parade, scheduled for 10 a.m., is aimed at honoring active military members, veterans, police officers, firefighters, rescue teams and emergency medical responders.

"It's basically all public emergency personnel and people who put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us," Wilson said.

The first Patriot Day Parade was scheduled for the second Saturday in September last year, however, pouring rain forced organizers to call off the patriotic event at the last minute.

Wilson said the rain did not deter residents from showing up though, and he believes this year's event will draw the same enthusiasm.

"We had pouring down rain, we still had people showing up saying 'are we going to have the parade?'" Wilson said. "So, especially in this community and in this area, people turn out to honor veterans and to honor people of service."

The parade is a joint partnership between the exchange club, the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Neosho.

Wes Franklin, the city's public relations and events coordinator, said the parade will follow the same route as the annual Christmas parade.

The parade will start at the intersection of Brook and North College Street, continue onto Spring Street, hang a right onto the Neosho Square, continue left onto Main Street, then onto Washington Street and end around the intersection of Washington and McCord streets.

Franklin said the parade is being held in light of the Patriot Day holiday, a national holiday observed on Sept. 11.

Patriot Day was established by Congress in a joint resolution in 2002, with its first observance held on the one-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. According to the proclamation establishing the day, its intent is to honor those individuals and emergency responders lost in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Recently, the day has also been observed as a day of service.

Franklin said he is unaware of any other area communities who hold events for the holiday, though he hopes communities will follow in Neosho's footsteps.

"The City of Neosho, the chamber of commerce and the Neosho Exchange Club, I think we just kind of wanted to do something to recognize Patriot Day and I hope that in the future other communities will maybe see what Neosho is doing and want to recognize it themselves," Franklin said.

He said the parade is open to any entries, so long as they follow the patriotic theme, and entry is free.
So far, Franklin said entries include the Neosho Police Department, Neosho Fire Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Four States Rescue Team, the Neosho High School Air Force Junior ROTC, the American Legion Auxiliary, and several other businesses, individuals and organizations.

There is still plenty of time to get signed up and Franklin said those interested in participating can do so with a quick phone call.

Those interested in signing up should contact Franklin at the Neosho City Hall at 451-8050.

"We just hope for a good turnout and hope the community comes out and supports our military and our emergency services," Franklin said.