Guest commentary

American Royal Parade a star-spangled salute

Updated: 2013-09-25T06:48:35Z

By Cynthia Pistilli Savage

Special to The Star

Last year, the American Royal chose to honor our United States military with our parade theme. We wanted to give our military and veterans the proper “thank you” they deserve.

The parade took place in the fall and was one of the biggest we’ve had in recent years. People lined Grand Boulevard all the way from Crown Center to Sprint Center. The event, full of American Royal pride and civic support, was such a successful event that we are doing it again on Saturday. The theme this year is “A Star-Spangled Salute.”

Many people associate the American Royal with their own favorite event of the American Royal season. For some it’s the World Series of Barbecue. For others it is the rodeo or horse shows. In reality there are more than 30 signature events that the American Royal holds throughout the fall season that also include the parade. Many Kansas Citians are not aware that the American Royal is a children’s charity that has been committed to youth, scholarship and education since 1899.

This year’s parade will begin at 9:45 a.m. The route for the 88th Annual American Royal Parade will start at Pershing Road and Grand Boulevard and then proceed north on Grand, ending at Truman Road. In 2012 the parade drew more than 10,000 spectators, so come early to get a good spot on the route.

The American Royal has many supporters, and we couldn’t operate without their generosity. Cerner Corp. is presenting sponsor of the American Royal Parade. Cerner supports and employs returning veterans, and its parade support is invaluable as hundreds of Cerner volunteers will hand out more than 5,000 American flags along the parade route.

The grand marshals this year are Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback; the grandson of President Harry S. Truman, Clifton Truman Daniel; and the granddaughter of former President Dwight Eisenhower, Mary Jean Eisenhower.

Parade entries will include active-duty military, veterans of many wars and conflicts, combines and tractors, and many floats honoring Kansas City’s agricultural heritage. There will be 130 marching bands, drill teams, saddle clubs, balloon displays, and civic and military groups. These will be joined by Kansas City Mayor Sly James and 2,000 Boy Scouts of America.

These entrants will make 2013 one of the largest parades in Kansas City history. We hope to see everyone at the parade to help us honor our American military.

Cynthia Pistilli Savage is the 2013 chairwoman of the American Royal.

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