KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The city of Knoxville and American Legion Post 2 honored and celebrated the men and women who've served in the military during the 96th Veterans Day Parade.
Hundreds of people headed to downtown Knoxville on Thursday, November 11. You can watch a replay of the parade below:
Dozens of organizations, from the Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Rural Metro, high schools, motor clubs, and more took part in one of the city's oldest traditions.
Of special note, the parade began with a ceremonial swearing in of several local U.S. Air Force and Space Force recruits. Those young men and women will soon begin their journey in the military at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, where they will spend more than a month going through basic military training to learn their branch's core values and how to serve with honor and discipline.
Thursday's parade began at the Knoxville Coliseum at 10:40 a.m. before heading through Howard H. Baker Jr. Avenue to Church Street, and then marching down Gay Street in downtown Knoxville to Depot Avenue.
At 11 a.m., all parade participants halted and faced west as honors were carried out for all U.S. veterans who've served over the years.
The tradition of honoring veterans on November 11 has been carried out since 1918, which originally was called Armistice Day in the U.S. to celebrate the end of fighting between Germany and the Allied Forces during the first World War. According to the American Legion Post 2, a crowd assembled in Knoxville outside Hope Brothers Jewelry on Gay Street. The armistice began on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and the crowd cheered once the Hope Clock struck 11.
At the end of the World War I, veterans returned to Knoxville and were welcomed with food and festivals in Market Square. The American Legion Post 2 has continued to carry on that tradition since, organizing the Veterans Day parade for 95 years. In 1954, the United States formally designated Nov. 11 as Veterans Day to honor American veterans of all wars.