Our entire community was saddened that both the Regional Veterans Day Parade at Chaffee Crossing and Christmas Honors at the Fort Smith National Cemetery were canceled for 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic. Both groups of event organizers did not want the year to pass without honoring area veterans, so we have teamed up to present Christmas Honors Tribute at Chaffee Crossing. In partnership with Chaffee Crossing, Christmas Honors is hosting a tribute display consisting of more than 18,000 names of every veteran buried at the Fort Smith National Cemetery.
The Christmas Honors Tribute at Chaffee Crossing exhibit will open on December 5, 2020, at 10:00 AM and remain open through December 28th. The display will start at 7300 Buckhorn St. in the Chaffee Crossing Historic Area. Lighted signs printed with names of veterans interred in the Fort Smith National Cemetery will be placed along the 1,200-foot, one-way drive-through between historic WWII-era barracks. The unique arrangement of the display will allow visitors to pay their respects without the risk of public crowds. The display will be open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm each day, giving the community the opportunity to view the display at leisure during the month of December.
FCRA Executive Director and CEO Daniel Mann says the Christmas Honors Tribute collaboration provided Chaffee Crossing an opportunity to show appreciation for veterans that is usually expressed through the annual Regional Veterans Day Parade at Chaffee Crossing. He explained, “It was a very difficult decision to cancel the Veterans Day Parade this year, so we jumped at the chance to honor veterans with this tribute display. We are committed to thanking veterans for all they have sacrificed to protect us and preserve our freedoms. This year it may look a little different, but our sincerity is just as genuine.”
Christmas Honors Chairman Philip Merry also emphasized this is a way to fulfill their organizations’: “to show respect and honor to veterans and their families to ensure they will never be forgotten.”