SPRINGFIELD (AP) – The annual Veterans Day parade in Illinois’ capital city has some new rules this year: No politicians, no campaigning and no candy.
The changes are part of an effort to refocus the event on the men and women who served the country in the U.S. military.
Instead of throwing free candy to people lining the streets of downtown Springfield, participants will hand out small American flags.
“This year we are changing it around. We want to honor the veterans,” said Sam Montalbano, a parade organizer. “The World War II veterans aren’t going to be around much longer. I think it’s time to salute them.”
Politicians who served in the military may participate with their veterans groups, but they can’t do any campaigning. Politicians who are not veterans may not march, Montalbano told the newspaper.
Monday’s parade starts in downtown Springfield and ends at the statehouse, where a ceremony will be held in the Capitol rotunda.
It’s sponsored by the Interveterans Council of Sangamon County and will honor all veterans, regardless of when they served.
The parade will also feature high school bands, World War II re-enactors, a World War II memorial float and a Vietnam War float.