Civil War anniversary theme of vets parade

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter




-- 11 a.m. commemoration on Friday, Nov. 11, at the Vancouver Barracks Cemetery, just north of Fourth Plain Boulevard, across from the Vancouver Veterans Affairs campus.

-- 2 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Armed Forces Reserve Center, 15005 N.E. 65th Ave., just south of Fourth Plain.

photoClick map to enlarge

The 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War will be Saturday’s theme for the Lough Legacy Veterans Parade at Fort Vancouver.

In that spirit, the grand marshal of the 2011 parade will be an organization, rather than an individual: The 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry will lead the parade as the grand marshal.

The military re-enactors portray volunteer soldiers who literally held down the fort here when the U.S. Army soldiers who had been based at Fort Vancouver headed east to take part in the conflict.

“They covered this entire region during the Civil War,” said Cara Cantonwine. She is director of programs for Fort Vancouver National Trust, a nonprofit organization that coordinates Celebrate Freedom programs.

The 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry marchers will include a color guard and a fife-and-drum unit, Cantonwine said.

The Civil War started on April 12, 1861, although the news wasn’t published here until April 29, 1861, after a steamship from San Francisco delivered the latest headlines from back East.

A replica artillery piece representing that era will be fired at 11 a.m. by National Park Service personnel to help signal the start of the parade, at the east end of Officers Row.

The reviewing officer will be a Camas soldier, Col. Daniel Kern, a veteran of the campaign in Afghanistan. Kern now holds one of the top leadership positions in the Washington National Guard as director of joint operations, working with the governor during emergencies in the state.

The year’s event also salutes another milestone: the 25th anniversary of the veterans parade.

This marks the second year the parade route stays entirely on the Fort Vancouver National Site. Prior to 2010, the parades had gone through downtown Vancouver.

“People liked to see the parade downtown, but we impeded a lot of traffic,” said Dan Tarbell, co-chairman of the Community Military Appreciation Committee.

This shapes up as the biggest of Vancouver’s veterans parades, Cantonwine said. The previous high for participants was 127 units, but organizers are expecting to exceed that number this year.

Participants typically include veterans’ organizations representing all branches of the service, local high school marching bands, college and high school ROTC groups, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, equestrian units and military and civilian vehicle collector clubs.

After the parade, the 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry will be part of a reception at the Artillery Barracks, 600 E. Hatheway Road.

Tom Vogt: 360-735-4558;;