Your Turn: Come to the parade Saturday to honor our veterans and Gold Star families

Veterans of military service are cornerstones of our community. Their loyalty to our country and their fellow troops under the most difficult conditions demonstrate moral fiber of the highest quality.

Lawrence is home to many veterans, and we gather for the 2022 Lawrence Veterans Day Parade Saturday on Massachusetts Street to thank our veterans. We will also honor Gold Star families who lost a family member making the ultimate sacrifice during military service. The generosity of our donors, the cooperation of downtown Lawrence businesses and the helpful advice of the Lawrence Police Department’s Patrol Division and the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department were all instrumental to empowering our volunteers to plan and gain readiness to conduct this event.

In the past Lawrence has honored distinguished individuals as parade grand marshal. In 2017 Erv Hodges, veteran of Marine Corps service and former mayor was honored. In 2018 Richard Schiefelbusch, distinguished university professor at KU and World War II B-24 bomber navigator, was honored. Eric Walther, local businessman and Air Force pilot honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross, was our parade honoree in 2019. Hank Booth, Army veteran and local radio announcer — indeed the most well-known voice in Lawrence — was grand marshal for 2021.

In 2022 we honor Warren Corman as parade grand marshal, veteran of World War II service in the United States Navy. Warren served on Okinawa as part of a Navy construction battalion. He was a Navy Seabee, building airfields on the recently conquered island 966 miles from Tokyo. He was one of more than 100,000 Army and Navy construction troops readying facilities to support Operation Downfall — the massive armed invasion of the home islands of Japan. As we know, President Truman chose a different course of action to use two atomic bombs, which resulted in the formal surrender of Japan on Sept. 2, 1945.

Warren arrived home from the Pacific Theater of Operations after his discharge on Mother’s Day in May 1946. He studied architecture and graduated from KU in 1950. He served as architect for the Kansas Regents and later became the university architect at KU.The products of his visionary designs are on view all over the Lawrence campus. He had major roles in building the KU Medical Center and other KU buildings across the state. He helped design Allen Field House, perhaps the most widely known college basketball venue in our country. In all, his daily fitness regimen allowed him to serve the citizens of Kansas for 69 years!

The Lawrence Veterans Day Parade Association invites your family to greet Warren Corman, World War II Navy Seabee veteran, and many other veteran pillars of our community at 11 a.m. Saturday for our parade to demonstrate our thanks to Gold Star families and to our veterans of honorable military service.

— Michael Kelly is chairperson of the Lawrence Veterans Day Parade Association. He served on active duty for 34 years in the United States Air Force.


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