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Gainesville Memorial Day parade set to honor fallen troops
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Downtown Gainesville was closed off Monday, May 30, 2022, for its first Memorial Day parade since a two-year hiatus for the pandemic. Veterans, bands, vintage cars and more made their way through town as onlookers waved flags and cheered. - photo by Natalae LaDouceur

The opportunity for Hall County residents to pay their respects to fellow community members whose lives were lost while serving their country is set to return to Gainesville’s Green Street for another year. 

The annual Memorial Day parade will return for back-to-back years for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

“I am excited to be putting the parade on again this year,” said Andre Castleberry, senior vice commander of the American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. “I was a little worried last year, but the turnout was better than I expected. I thought people may not come out due to the COVID-19 concerns, but the community came out and supported us as if nothing had changed.”

At The Times

Our lobby at 345 Green St. will be open after the parade. Stop by to meet some of our staff members and get free color-changing cups while supplies last, stickers and fans to cool off.

This year marks the post’s 19th year of hosting the parade and, according to Castleberry, there will be no restrictions on how the parade takes place this year.

“I think it means even more now since we lost so many people to COVID during the pandemic,” he said.

The public should expect the usual street closures to begin at 8:30 a.m. in preparation of the parade beginning at 10 a.m. 

The parade will start at First Baptist Church of Gainesville and continue down Green Street and E.E. Butler Parkway before turning onto Spring Street and concluding at the Bank of America building

A veteran of the U.S. Navy’s submarine force with a son currently serving in the Marine Corps, Castleberry believes a consistent Memorial Day parade is an asset to the community and one way to recognize service and sacrifice. 

“I believe the Memorial Day parade is a big deal to our community because so many have loved ones and friends that have served in the military,” said Castleberry. “Memorial Day is to recognize those veterans that are no longer with us.” 

Having had to cancel the parade in 2021 made it even more important to pull out all the bells and whistles for the parade’s return last year, this year and all the years to follow, according to Castleberry. The tradition, he said, is something that needs to continue.

“The event is a symbol of things getting back to normal for so many people,” Castleberry said. “That’s very important for the healing process for those that have lost loved ones.”