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West Farms veterans parade planned

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The 4th Annual Bronx Veterans Parade will be taking place in West Farms, honoring the sacrifice of men and women who have served our country with valor and distinction.

The parade kicks off at noon on Saturday, September 24 at East 178th Street and Crotona Parkway at the Crotona Mall.

The route has the parade making a right turn on East 180th Street to the Old West Farms Solider Cemetery on Bryant Avenue, where there will be a wreath laying ceremony and placement of flags on headstones, organizers stated. The parade then runs to Vidala Park, located on East 180th Street between Vyse and Daly avenues.

“We are expecting close to 200 participan­ts,” said Bronx Veterans Parade Committee chairwoman Delores Steele. “This parade has grown bigger every year, with all of our elected officials participat­ing.”

In the past, the parade has gotten support from Congressman Jose Serrano, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Assemblyman Jose Rivera, Assemblyman Eric Stephenson, and Councilman Joel Rivera, among other elected officials, Steele said.

Vietnam veteran Raymond Lettsome is the first co-chairman of the parade, Steele stated. Steele’s father was a homeless veteran whom got off the street, and in 1996 her experience with her father inspired her to form a outreach ministry for veterans through her church, Gethsemane Baptist Church at 771 Fairmount Place, she said.

The parade is a way to raise awareness in the community about the men and women who served their country and who are an integral part of the fabric of the neighborhood.

“For the people in the community, they get to see that there are veterans and that they are part of their community,” Steele said. “For the veterans marching, it makes them proud of their service in the military. We have all branches of service and all theaters, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.”

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