Budget cuts impact Armed Forces Day events - KCTV5

Budget cuts mean Armed Forces Day won't be filled with service members

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2012 Armed Forces Day parade 2012 Armed Forces Day parade

Budget cuts by the federal government mean fewer service members will participate in Armed Forces Day.

There will be no official active-duty military presence at all Armed Forces Day events this weekend across the country, including those in the Kansas City area.

It's not the event that organizer Jerry Plantz envisioned for Washington Square Park in downtown Kansas City.

"We've lost a band unit. We lost the Whiteman Air Force Base color guard plus a lot of military equipment that was going to be on display," he explained. "We were told don't even ask for any flyovers or any other special (requests) from the military because it just wouldn't be coming."

The U.S. Department of Defense has frozen all official military appearances, which means, for example, no flyovers at the Truman Sports Complex.

Some contend in tough budget times that these are extras that the government simply can't cover.

Veterans groups, like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, are stepping up to make sure the events go on. Thomas Garett served in Desert Storm and Liberation Kuwait and will march this weekend with the color guard.

"It's veterans helping veterans. That's our duty, that's our honor," he said.

He said he wants veterans to know that their service is appreciated and they are remembered.

The parade on Saturday will start at Pershing Road and Grand Boulevard and end at Pershing and Main Street. Entertainers and musicians are donating their time.

"The civic pride is alive and vibrant," Plantz said. "We're proud of that."

He said he hopes that Kansas City area residents show out in force to support their veterans.

"Bring your children, your families and show them what America is all about," he said. "Our military won't be here, but we'll be here. The citizens of Kansas City come on down, enjoy it."

The names of fallen heroes will be read at a ceremony at 11 a.m. on the front steps of City Hall.

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