Laclede’s Pershing Days begins this Friday and continues through this weekend with many events happening in downtown Laclede.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Pershing Days will include many events remembering veterans and the fight overseas.
Laclede’s Pershing Days kicks off Sept. 14 with the Laclede all-school reunion at 4 p.m. The events continue with a bike rodeo, a Pershing Park Memorial Association (PPMA) silent auction and a presentation of “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” the same night. Friday night will also feature a free concert from Keota starting at 7 p.m. The night of events will close out with a teen street dance with music provided by Top Sound starting at 9 p.m.
Events start Saturday with Linn County Recovery Outreach (LCRO) Run for your Life 5K. The event starts at 8 a.m. pre-registration will be available before the event for $15 and $30 the day of.
According to LCRO corresponding secretary Adam Rice the organization works to help the Linn County community.
“Our main purpose is helping the community, we want to repair the damage we’ve done,” Rice said. “We want people to know we are productive members of society.”
All proceeds from the event will go towards future LCRO events, donations to other organizations and resource materials. Visit the LCRO Facebook page for more details.
Events continue Saturday with the hot rods and heroes car show, a tractor show and a flag raising with a National Anthem performance at 9:30 a.m. The 399th Army Band will perform at 11 a.m. The band will play a number of patriotic tunes from WWI and will play the famous war song “Over There.” Bed races sponsored by Nu-Rest Bedding begins at noon and will take place at the Laclede United Methodist Church. The Pershing Days parade will begin after the bed races at 1 p.m. The theme for this year’s parade is coming home. The grand marshal is PPMA president Robert DeVoy.
The poppy garden dedication will start at 2 p.m. with an introduction given by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Immediately after, soil from WWI battlefields will be placed in the poppy garden.
According to Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home and State Historic Site administrator Denzil Heaney, the event dedication remembers all those who fought in WWI.
“At the end of WWI 46,000 American troops remains were brought back to the U.S. at the request of their families, that left 35,000 remains in Europe, with 5,000 of those being unknown,” Heaney said. “It’s very fitting and proper that we bring this soil back home to Missouri.”
The Black Jack Theatre will perform at 6:30 p.m. This will be the group’s 30th community performance and will commemorate and salute our veterans. Saturday ends with a free concert from the Comancheros starting at 8 p.m.
Sunday features an event for all ages in Brookfield. PPMA will have a free showing of the animated feature “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” at Reel Time Cinema in Brookfield starting at 1:30 p.m. The story is based on true events about a dog who alerted American troops to an impending attack. For his valor, the dog received a gold medal from Gen. Pershing after the war. The event is first come first serve.
Heaney says he wants the younger generation to learn from the movie.
“We want to remind young people about these stories that would otherwise be lost, or forgotten,” Heaney said.
PPMA President Robert DeVoy says the event worthwhile.
“We highly recommend anyone who was the time to come and see the events going on this weekend,” DeVoy said. “Come and learn about Gen. Pershing and how he’s affected so many lives.”
Many dignitaries will be present at the event. Representatives from Belgium’s WWI Centennial Commission will be present this weekend, the Missouri state VFW commander will be at the event, state Rep. Rusty Black will be in attendance and Gov. Parson may make an appearance as well.