The city of Pittsburgh will hold its 94th annual Veterans Day parade on Monday.
Tony Filardi of Overbrook served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and has been the chair of the Veterans Day parade committee since 1990.
Filardi said the parade is an important tradition that pays tribute both to veterans and to active duty military.
“It’s to honor all the veterans who served in the service and also the military people who are serving currently,” Filardi said. “After all, without them, our nation would not be free, because freedom is not free.”
Filardi said that over the years, interest in the Veterans Day parade has decreased.
“The interest doesn’t seem to be there with the general public, and I’m very disappointed in that,” said Filardi. “Right after 9/11, it seemed it was up, and now it’s starting to wane down again.”
Filardi also said participation among veterans has decreased, saying that World War II veterans are much likelier to participate than veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He attributed some of the decreased participation and spectatorship to the fact that the parade is often held on a week day.
“It’s a work day for a lot of them, the younger veterans, so they have to work,” Filardi said. “I can understand that. They have to provide for their families.”
In the future, Filardi said the parade committee may decide to hold the parade on a Saturday each year, regardless of the day of the week on which Nov. 11 falls.
This year’s parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Grant Street and Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. The parade will continue down Liberty, turn left on Stanwix Street, right on the Boulevard of the Allies, and will end at Commonwealth Place.
Also on Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs will hold a Veterans Day ceremony at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Bridgeville. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. and will include a keynote speech by Col. Edward E. Metzgar, commander of the 171st Air Refueling Wing.