Memorial Day Parade Honors American & Sikh Soldiers

Hosting a float at the parade is also an opportunity to educate the Americans about the Contribution of Sikhs in World W...

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Thousands of people lined up on the sidewalks, outside their homes cheered and waved flags along the streets of Springfield, Ohio in USA while honoring Veterans who gave their lives as well as those living during the 2021 Memorial Day Parade in Springfield, Ohio USA. This annual parade saw an estimated 110 groups, about 200 vehicles and 2000 people participating after being cancelled last year in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.  

This might have been the biggest free public event in the city after the pandemic began and an opportunity for the residents and communities to get together. Everyone was happy and felt great to see people smiling and actually seeing their faces after a long time as the health guidelines loosened regarding masks. 

Float by Sikh Community Honors Veterans

A large number of Sikh community members in Springfield and neighboring cities of Dayton, Cincinnati also participated in the parade with a float of their own. This float supported a banner "Sikh Americans Honoring Sikh and American Soldiers from World Wars" and the other with details about "Sikhs Contribution in World War I and II." One of the banners had quotations from the British General highlighting the contribution of Sikh soldiers in World Wars. The two hour and two-mile-long parade marched through downtown with a gathering of about thirty thousand spectators along the route to watch the parade. 

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Participation by Sikhs important in US Community Events

The initiative to participate in what is considered as one of the biggest parades in USA was taken by Springfield residents Avtar Singh and his wife Sarabjit Kaur by representing Sikh Americans for the first time in 1999 along with their children. Speaking on the occasion, they shared that “After the tragic incident of 9/11 after which Sikhs have been target of hate crimes due to mistaken identity, it became more important for Sikh Americans to participate in such events and reach out to the community. We are very happy that for the past many years, a larger Sikh community now participates in the parade”

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A Sikh veteran from Indian army, 94-year-old Raghbir Singh also participates in the parade every year, sitting in his son’s pick-up truck decorated with American flags and sign boards “Honoring the Veterans”. 

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Personally, I have been part of this parade for the past 11 years, along with my children. Every year, they are very excited to participate and walk down the street as Sikh Americans. We all walk by holding American flags, take pride in our country by supporting our troops, remembering the people that have fallen for us, went to war for us and fought for our country. 

Hosting a float at the parade is also an opportunity to educate the Americans about the Contribution of Sikhs in World Wars. Every year along the parade route, Sikhs are cheered with a big applause, “Thank you”, “Happy Memorial Day”, “Mr. Singh”, “Dr. Singh”, and a special cheer “Avatar” for the local resident Avtar Singh. Thousands of brochures with information about Sikhs and their unique identity are also distributed to people lined up on the sidewalks. Many who don’t know about Sikhs are also curious to know more about them. 

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Independence Day (4th of July) Parades

Every year, parades and multi-cultural festivals are organized in the USA including the Independence and Thanksgiving Day parade. For the past few years, Sikhs for the New year participate in the famous Rose Parade in California with a float and watched by thousands all over the World. As every year, Sikhs in the USA organize Sikh Day parades or Nagar Kirtan to celebrate Gurpurab and other important Sikh events. In the same way, it is very important that we all participate in these annual events along with other communities. Participation in such events shows fellow Americans that we take pride in our country. 

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Next month, Independence Day parades will be taken out in many cities. Sikhs community of Dayton, Cincinnati and other neighboring cities is also participating in the 4th of July Parade in Beavercreek, Ohio. All are invited to join the parade. This also helps to reach out to thousands of people and cost-effective to create awareness about Sikhs.

Sikh Resource Center

Many in the community who are interested in organizing or participate in such events and do not have the resources to do so can also contact us for more information. There is definitely a need and opportunity for Sikhs to have a resource center that can provide help or information in preparing floats, banners, brochures etc. for such events.

Watch some highlights from 2021 parade:

Previous years coverage on Sikhnet:

Sikhs Celebrate Memorial Day Parade at Springfield, Ohio | SikhNet

Creating Awareness about Sikhs in Community Parades | SikhNet

Sameep Singh Gumtala
Dayton, Ohio USA 
Ph.: 937-654-8873
Email: [email protected]

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