The History of the Texas Veterans Parade
74 long years had been a significant amount of time for a patriotic town like Corsicana to go without a parade to honor our Veterans, since the last one held in 1945.
The mission statement at the Texas Veterans Parade is both simple and impactful:
"To honor Texas Veterans from all wars and conflicts, to educate children/students about Freedom, Liberty and the sacrifices of Veterans"
The Texas Military Veterans are individuals who have bravely served their country throughout history, responding to the call of duty in times of war and conflict. From the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto, to significant battles such as Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Anzio, and the Battle of Midway, and up to the more recent conflicts such as Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Texas military veterans have consistently demonstrated their courage and commitment to their nation.
Texas was fortunate to have brave leaders like William Barrett Travis, Mirabeau B. Lamar, John Bell Hood, Chester W. Nimitz, and Richard Edward Cavazos who led the Texas Veterans.
The state has a proud history of military service, with more than 50 Texans being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, including 31 in World War II and 13 in Vietnam. Among these heroic recipients is Candelario "Spider" Garcia, who hails from Corsicana.
Bill McNutt III, the son of L William McNutt, Jr, the President of Collin Street Bakery, and a World War II Army Sergeant. Bill is the Founder and Chairman of the Texas Veterans Parade in Corsicana. After graduating from Corsicana High School in 1973, he was recognized for his football skills and earned a place on the Texas Football Magazine 25th Silver Anniversary Football team for Corsicana. He later completed an MBA program at Vanderbilt University and served in the Reagan White House and the George H.W. Bush administration.
Texas Veterans Parade Chair Bill McNutt with WW2 Veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams in Iwo Jima. Texas veterans’ parade
Throughout his career, McNutt worked with George Herbert Walker Bush, a World War II hero, on three occasions, including during the 1988-89 President Transition Team. McNutt also achieved business success in Silicon Valley, helping over 100 tech startups. However, he never forgot his deep connection to the people and traditions of Navarro County, where Corsicana is located as the county seat.
The idea to reinstate an annual veteran’s parade in Corsicana came surprisingly from a 9-year-old girl.
Bill asked his daughter, Slone McNutt, what Corsicana could do to honor veterans. As quick as a flash she said,
"Daddy, have a parade. Soldiers love to march and children love a parade".
Bill's foundation, "Corsicana My Hometown," has a Facebook group with over 3,000 members, and its leadership includes Mayor Denbow, Pastor Danny Reeves, Jimmy Stewart, Thomas Pfueller, Danzell Lee, David Croom, and other local leaders. They supported his idea and encouraged him to make it a reality.
With the help of Parade CEO Joe Hill, a retired Navy Captain, and District Director for a Republican Congressman in Louisiana, McNutt founded the organization in December of 2018.
"In all that we do", says Mr. McNutt, "we channel the energy, love, and duty to Texas displayed by our two local heroes Jose Antonio Navarro, one of the first signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. And, Candelario 'Spider' Garcia, our Medal of Honor recipient from Vietnam. Both men are represented by splendid statues on the Navarro County courthouse lawn. José Navarro also selected the name, Corsicana, for our town."
"From the defenders of the Alamo to Johnny Reb, from Doughboys to World War II GI's and on to the War on Terror, the Texas Veteran embodies duty, honor, and country," says Mr. McNutt. "They deserve a tribute parade every day of the year. We only ask our fellow Texans to bring their children and turn out one day a year to honor all Texas Veterans from all wars and conflicts."
"We can retire from our jobs, even our civic organizations, but we can never retire from gratitude and the admonishment of the Bible that tells us to honor our mothers and our fathers. I do my work in honor of a World War II Sgt, L. William McNutt, Jr., who was my father and a 1942 graduate of Corsicana High School."