WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- After months of planning and coordination, the Arsenal fielded what one City of Albany Parade Committee member said was the largest parade contingent in memory. On a cool, breezy November morning, the Arsenal, with its friends from inside and outside of the fence line, showed up with 18 vehicles and about 100 folks to honor our nation's Veterans in front of thousands of local citizens.

Although only about five percent of the Arsenal workforce supported our parade efforts, those "5 Percenters" had a significant effect not only on the hundreds of Veterans who line Central Avenue, but also with the thousands who proudly stood next to a Veteran on their day, Nov. 11.

What started off from a recommendation three years ago by Mike Bush, a former union chief steward, to the Arsenal public affairs officer to reengage the community, has now grown into the Arsenal's sixth parade in two years. Literally tens of thousands of local citizens and their elected representatives have recently experienced the Arsenal's rebirth into community relations.

"Although our presence in the community provides us great exposure to thousands of local citizens and their elected representatives, that is not the main reason why we do these types of events," said Arsenal Commander Col. Mark F. Migaleddi in preparation for the parade. "We do these events because as Americans we have a personal, moral obligation to support our Veterans and our servicemembers."

Each parade takes hundreds of hours of planning, coordination, and preparation. And in the process, just about every Arsenal staff and operations section supported the parade effort, from supply to contracting to public works to the motor pool to manufacturing, in order to provide a first-class parade entry. We also had great support from our friends such as the Hudson-Valley Military Vehicle Collectors Club, Arsenal Business & Technology Partnership, and the Army's Albany Recruiting Company.

For those who participated, a sense of pride and thanksgiving resonated through all.

Albany Recruiting Company Commander Capt. Ryan Johnson said, "It was an honor and a privilege to be able to personally thank the Veterans and their family members for their service and sacrifice and for paving the way for my generation of warriors."

Benét Laboratories' Jim Grenier said, "I take great pride in being involved with and supporting the Arsenal in its parades. We owe all that we are and have to our military personnel. They have sacrificed so much for all of us and the least we can do is to honor them on Veteran's Day and Memorial Day."

And the Arsenal's Director of Installation Management Joe Turcotte added, "This was my first time marching in the parade and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, my kids said they would do it again next year. They (kids) liked having the flags to hand out at the end of the parade and the recipients in the crowd all seemed to enjoy that, too."

Before the ink dried on this article, the Arsenal parade committee was already planning for the upcoming Memorial Day Parade in the City of Watervliet. The Arsenal's exposure during these two parades, City of Albany's Veterans Day Parade and the City of Watervliet's Memorial Day Parade, has not gone unnoticed. The Village of Green Island and the City of Rensselaer have requested the Arsenal's support for their upcoming Memorial Day activities.

Page last updated Wed November 30th, 2011 at 10:28