11-03-10-veterans-parade.gifAccording to GlobalSecurity.org, Fort Bragg is the largest Army installation in the world by population, and is home to almost 10 percent of the Army’s active component forces. Approximately 43,000 military and 8,000 civilian personnel work at Fort Bragg.”

That’s a lot of service, sacrifi ce and selfl essness on our behalf.

Veterans Day is right around the corner, and with it comes the opportunity to say thanks and to show appreciation for those who offer up their lives and who fi ght to defend our freedom every day. On Nov. 6 Fayetteville will celebrate our heroes at the Veterans Day Parade. It starts 11 a.m. at the corner of Hay Street and Bragg Boulevard and will end at Robeson Street.

Don Talbot, the event organizer and a veteran, has been organizing this event for the past 13 years. He’s excited about the size and scope of this year’s event.

“This is a long and interesting and never boring parade of military, ex-military and loyal supporters,” said Talbot. “A typical year has anywhere from 1,000 to 1,400 people in the parade. This year because the majority of the troops are back at Fort Bragg, they are sending me an entire brigade to march in review. That’s 1,200 soldiers from the 3/73 Cavalry of the 82nd Airborne Divison. That one entry doubled the size of our parade. I would guess there are about 2,800 people in the parade this year.”

Check out America’s future leaders as the local high school ROTC units march by the grand stand. Talbot is expecting anywhere from 80 to 250 cadets. A few of the high schools will also send their drill teams to impress the crowds with their rifl e-spinning skills.

Restored military vehicles from by-gone eras will be rolling through the streets of downtown as well.

“In the past we’ve had armored personnel carriers, jeeps and trucks o11-03-10-american-flag.giff various descriptions, as well as artillery pieces,” said Talbot. “We always include heritage organizations, too, such as the Arsenal Camp which is commemorating the Confederacy.

”What is a parade without a band? Look for the 82nd All American Band along with several of the local high school bands to entertain the spectators

.Talbot has arranged for a C-130 fl y-over as part of the event as well.

With the right coordination and ground control, he likes to have the planes overhead as the Air Force is passing in review.Come and see what other groups and displays Talbot has in store.

“The whole parade is dedicated to vets and their service, so everyone in it is somehow connected to the military,” said Talbot. “The theme this year is to honor recipients of the Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds. We are asking everyone that has a Purple Heart to wear it — even if you aren’t in the parade.”

Take the opportunity to say thanks to the men and women who have proudly served our nation, and enjoy the sights and sounds of freedom.

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