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Memorial Day parade 2019, in 20 photos
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Hundreds braved the heat Monday, May 27, 2019, to view the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers

The names of U.S. soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice were paraded along Green Street on Monday, May 27.

Doug Edwards walked during the 17th annual Memorial Day parade in Gainesville, helping fellow veterans lift a banner with a list of Georgians who died in the Vietnam War.

Monday was one of many days he spent remembering his lost comrades.

“I was in Vietnam and came back, and a lot of people didn’t,” Edwards said. “People need to take a second and honor the people that didn’t come back. They’re the reason for our freedom.”

Sponsored by the Paul E. Bolding American Legion Post 7 and the Northeast Georgia Veterans Coalition, the parade kicked off with a flyover by a yellow airplane with the words “U.S. Army” painted on its wings. Hotrods, vintage cars, tractors, fire trucks, police cars and other patriotic automobiles drove through town, some transporting World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans.

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The Vietnam Veterans of America and Associates Northeast Georgia Chapter 772 float parades down Green Street Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Stephanie Bailey waves a flag and a sign to parade marchers Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7 celebrates its 100th anniversary Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade it sponsors annually. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The Smallwood brothers participate in the annual Memorial Day parade Monday, May 27, 2019, along Green Street. From left the World War II veterans are John, Howell and Horace. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Shriner Jerry Lothridge shouts out at parade watchers Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The Chestatee High marching band participates in the annual Memorial Day parade along Green Street. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Crowds line Green Street in Gainesville Monday, May 27, 2019, for the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The East Hall marching band performs Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The Gainesville High School JROTC carries a large U.S. flag Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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A vintage tractor crawls along Green Street Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Boy Scouts carry the names of fallen veterans Monday, May 27, 2019, in the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Charles L. Lewis, U.S. Naval Reserve retired, waves at parade-goers Monday, May 27, 2019, as he takes part in the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The Lumpkin County High marching band performs Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Motorcycles parade along Green Street Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Gainesville firefighter Zach Vaughan hands out bubble gum Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Veterans and vintage cars make their way along Green Street Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers
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The annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7 features plenty of vintage cars on parade. - photo by Scott Rogers
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Parade-watchers wave at the Smallwood brothers as their car passes Monday, May 27, 2019, during the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. The brothers all served in World War II. - photo by Scott Rogers
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A color guard leads the annual Memorial Day parade sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7. - photo by Scott Rogers

Kevin Littlejohn, retired U.S. Army veteran, said the community should also keep dead soldiers’ families in mind when celebrating Memorial Day.

“Some of these people we’re honoring, they were 19 or 20 years old,” Littlejohn said. “They had their whole life in front of them, but they took the time to say, ‘I was to serve my country first.’ And they paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

Many of those who drove or walked in the parade consider themselves longtime participants, including Gainesville Fire Department Chief Jerome Yarbrough.

Yarbrough said his department considers the event a tradition.

“As a veteran myself, it means a lot that I can participate and ad to this great parade,” he said.

High school marching bands from Chestatee, East Hall, Gainesville, Lumpkin County and West Hall performed familiar and patriotic songs.

Larry Miller, Gainesville High School’s marching band director, said he enjoyed witnessing all of the local schools playing active roles in the community.

As children waved their tiny American flags and veterans smiled from car windows, 77-year-old Sandra Walsh soaked in the energetic atmosphere.

Walsh said she has attended the parade for as long as she can remember. Her father, Ralph Roper, served during WWII and the Korean War and died around 10 years ago.

She hopes the community doesn’t take for granted the lives they have because of people like her father.

“They’re gone and would’ve enjoyed the times today, but they gave themselves to help us be a good America,” Walsh said.

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