By Conrad Dudderar
A unique appreciation project that honors Yukon’s hometown heroes for their service and dedication will be unveiled this week.
Fifty banners celebrating active military personnel, veterans and first responders will be featured as part of Yukon 66 Main Street’s third annual “Yukon Salutes” program.
These customized street pole banners will be proudly displayed along Yukon’s Main Street from Oct. 8 through Nov. 11 (Veterans Day).
Each banner will include the honoree’s photo, name and details about his or her service.
“This year will be the largest number of banners,” Yukon Main Street Director Vicki Davis said. “We will have 46 military banners and four first responder banners, for a total of 50.
“Twenty-nine of the banners are brand new, first time on display.”
The Yukon Salutes banner display “publicly celebrates and honors the men and women in our lives and in the community who contribute to our safety, health and freedoms.”
A ceremony to kick off the monthly-long display will be 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Yukon Veterans Museum, 1012 W Main.
The brief ceremony will feature a ribbon cutting and remarks by local dignitaries.
Mayor Shelli Selby will read a proclamation declaring “Veterans Appreciation Month”, which is observed Oct. 11 through Nov. 11 in the City of Yukon.
The Veterans Appreciation Month proclamation was first presented at the Oct. 4th Yukon City Council meeting. A proclamation for First Responders Day will be presented at the council’s Oct. 18th meeting.
The public is invited to tour the Yukon Veterans Museum, which hosts the opening reception and provides refreshments.
State Rep. Rhonda Baker (R-Yukon), State Rep. Jay Steagall (R-Yukon) and Canadian County Commissioner-elect Tom Manske are due to attend Saturday morning’s Yukon Salutes’ opening ceremony.
The Yukon Salutes banners will replace the Oklahoma Czech Festival banners that have adorned street poles over the past month along Main Street.
PARTNERSHIP WITH VETERANS
The idea to start the Yukon Salutes banner program in 2020 came from discussions about how to keep Main Street relevant and draw people downtown at a time when COVID-19 forced many retail shops and restaurants to close.
“It helped us realize how strong a presence our Yukon veterans have here,” Davis said. “We already had a great partnership with our veterans, with the museum being right here on Main Street.
“It made a lot of sense and has taken off since then.”
There were 40 military banners displayed in 2020, then 45 banners in 2021 when first responders were added to Yukon Salutes.
Orders for new banners are accepted in June and July. For more information, visit www.yukon66mainstreet.com