Here a few details about the eighth annual event, sponsored by Paul E. Bolding American Legion Post 7 in Gainesville:
When: 10 a.m. May 31
Where: Route is Green Street from First Baptist Church to West Academy, then Green Street to Spring Street, then Spring to E.E. Butler Parkway.
Contact: Dave Dellinger, 770-718-7676, or Roger Keebaugh, 770-869-7941
World War II veterans, including Pearl Harbor survivor Mack Abbott of Gainesville, will lead Paul E. Bolding American Legion Post 7’s Eighth Annual Memorial Day Parade on May 31.
“There are fewer and fewer every year, and this is our chance to honor them,” said Dave Dellinger, who is helping to organize the event.
The veterans organization is still laying plans for the event, which draws large crowds yearly along Green Street with cars of waving dignitaries, antique cars and other entertainment.
And though World War II veterans have been part of parades in the past, they haven’t been the main focus.
“Each year, we’ve tried to do something special,” Dellinger said.
“Last year, it was the families of (Gainesville’s) Charlie Company.”
The parade is set to begin at 10 a.m. with participants lining up at 8:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church on Green Street.
Participants will travel from the church down Green Street to West Academy, then Green Street to Spring Street and Spring across E.E. Butler Parkway, where the parade will disband.
Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 772, will serve free hot dogs and hamburgers after the parade in Roosevelt Square between the Joint Administration Building and Georgia Mountains Center.
“We did that last year, but it wasn’t as big (as it will be this year),” said Dellinger, also a member of that group. Organizers also are trying to get a helicopter flyover involving the Army National Guard.
“We had them scheduled last year, but because of the low (visibility) ceiling ... they had to cancel that morning,” Dellinger said.
Also, Charlie Company, which is part of the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade, has been invited to join in the parade.
The military unit returned in March from a one-year deployment to Afghanistan. Operation Patriot’s Call, a group supporting military families, has been organizing a homecoming celebration for the soldiers June 5.
Overall, Dellinger believes a larger parade is in store this year.
“We had well over 100 entrants last year. We expect at least as many this year,” he said. “It gets bigger and bigger every year.”