Rain did not keep everyone away from the Memorial Day parade Monday in Gainesville.
Green Street was filled with umbrellas and ponchos Monday morning, but parade-goers were still energetic, with children waving to parade participants and attendees thanking veterans for their military service as they passed.
The annual parade, sponsored by Gainesville’s American Legion Paul E. Bolding Post 7, started on Green Street, then turned onto E.E. Butler Parkway and Spring Street. Participants included several local veterans groups, high school marching bands and Gainesville and Hall fire services and law enforcement, among others.
Katy Foster of Flowery Branch said her family has been attending the parade for about a decade, and it is “heartwarming” to see veterans and community members gather every year. She said the family had been keeping an eye on the weather but decided to face the rain to continue their tradition.
“We’ve been coming since (my children) were little, and it’s what we do on Memorial Day,” Foster said. “We’ve been watching Facebook and everything to see if it was canceled.”
Stephanie Bailey of Gainesville sat on Green Street with her three sons for Monday’s parade. The family has attended the past three years, and Bailey said she wants her sons to appreciate service members and veterans.
“The only thing that’s standing between us and our freedom being taken away is our servicemen and women,” Bailey said. “We’re out here today to honor the servicemen and women that died protecting America.”
Marty Prah attended the parade with a group of neighbors from the Cresswind at Lake Lanier subdivision on Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville. The neighborhood has an active veterans group, he said, so the neighbors decided to come to the parade to support them.
“A lot of seniors grew up with respect and honor for veterans and our country, and we like to show that,” Prah said.