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Plans firming up for annual Memorial Day parade

POSTED: April 25, 2009 11:54 p.m.
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Dave Dellinger, a Vietnam Veterans of America officer and an organizer with the annual Memorial Day parade in Gainesville, talks about plans for this year's events.

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This year’s Memorial Day Parade on Green Street could get off to a soaring start, with a possible flyover by an Army Black Hawk helicopter.


Dave Dellinger, one of the parade’s organizers, said he has submitted paperwork for an appearance by the aircraft, which provides air assault and other support for soldiers, including medical evacuation.


He has submitted a request to the Federal Aviation Administration and hasn’t heard back yet.


“The Army (unit) out of Dobbins said they are all for it and will be glad to provide the (helicopter) if we just get the approval for it,” Dellinger said.


Otherwise, he and others are working to firm up plans for the seventh annual parade, which is set to start at 10 a.m. May 25 at First Baptist Church on Green Street.


“We’re hoping it is going to be bigger this year,” said Dellinger, vice president of the local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter and a member of Patriot’s Call, a support group for loved ones of those who have been deployed.


In past years, the parade, which is sponsored by the American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7 in Gainesville, has featured a wide variety of marchers, including Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, beauty queens, public safety officials and area politicians.


Also, spectators can expect to see plenty of veterans, as part of the parade and in their midst, lining up on either side of Green Street.

The Chestatee High School band also is scheduled to perform, as it has done annually.


“Because school gets out the week before, it’s really hard to get the (bands) together,” Dellinger said.


This year, spectators will have more sidewalk to fill, as organizers have extended the parade route from beyond the fork at Green Street and E.E. Butler Parkway.


The parade will continue down West Academy, turn left on Green Street, then turn left on Spring Street before ending at E.E. Butler.


Also, family members of men in Charlie Company, a Gainesville-based Army National Guard unit headed to Afghanistan, will lead the parade as grand marshals, said Dave Dellinger, one of the parade’s organizers.


The Air Force Band out of Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta is set to march in the parade and perform a free concert at 2 p.m. at Lakewood Baptist Church off Thompson Bridge Road, Dellinger said.


Roger Keebaugh, commander of the American Legion post, said planning for the event started last month.


“We’re trying to have (a meeting) every week now from here on in,” he said. “There’s so much to do. People don’t realize ... what goes on in the background.”



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