It's a great day for a parade
Saturday, November 09, 2013 5:48 PM
Chances are there are more than a few of you who already have plans for today.
Certainly some will be going to church. For some denominations, that is a longer commitment than it is for others. I'm Presbyterian, therefore it is predestined I start glancing at my watch about 45 minutes into the service.
(Yes, I just made a lame predestination joke. Again, Presbyterian.)
Later in the day, I'm sure many will be tuning in for today's slate of NFL games. Others will settle in with the Sunday papers, while some will attend an afternoon movie. A good many people will simply rest, hoping to recharge the batteries before another hectic work week begins.
Well, I'm going to ask you to change your afternoon plans. It's not a drastic change, mind you. In fact, I'm not even asking for much of your time. Less than an hour.
Trust me when I tell you, in this case, we owe a great deal more than an hour of our time.
Because, frankly, there are those who gave one hell of a lot more than an hour. They've risked it all and, today, we have the chance to show our thanks for that sacrifice.
At 3 p.m. today in Uptown Greenwood, the Greenwood County Coalition of Veterans Organizations will host the annual Veterans Day parade. The parade will depart from Hampton Place shopping center at 3, then proceed south on Main Street to South Main Baptist Church.
A host of local veterans are set to march or ride in the parade. Junior ROTC groups from Emerald High and Greenwood High will participate, as will the Ninety Six Model "A" Club, various law enforcement and emergency personnel and others.
It won't be a long parade. It certainly won't be as long as the annual Christmas parade through Uptown Greenwood, which in recent years threatened to go on longer than the movie "Gods and Generals."
But, while it might lack in length, today's Veterans Day parade will not lack in meaning. This is a time to remember heroes. Real heroes. Everyday Joes and Janes who put it all on the line for our country.
I'm just going to put this out there: In past years, attendance at the annual Veterans Day parade has, frankly, been disappointing. But don't just take my word for it. Here's what Greenwood County Coalition of Veterans Organizations' Fred Malone told me earlier this week when I asked him if the coalition was hoping for a nice crowd at today's parade:
"We would love to see a whole mess of people there watching," Malone said. "It's been kind of disappointing in past years. We've usually had just about as many people marching in the parade as there have been watching it."
Malone's commentary was blunt, but true. We have an opportunity to change that at 3 p.m. this afternoon.
MOMENTS AFTER TODAY'S Veterans Day parade, there will be another unique opportunity for residents, also in Uptown Greenwood.
At 3:30, the Hall of Heroes Museum at Greenwood County Veterans Center will open its doors to the public. The Greenwood County Veterans Center is in the building that once housed the old Greenwood County Library.
Greenwood County Veterans Affairs officer Carey Bolt and his staff, along with various veterans groups, did an excellent job transforming the old library into a viable hub for various military-related activities and functions.
Part of that transformation has been the Hall of Heroes.
In late September, the Greenwood Hall of Heroes inducted its latest class, with 22 men and women - ranging in service dates from the World War II era all the way to the recent wars in the Middle East - were honored for their service.
I covered the September Hall of Heroes induction ceremony and thought it was absolutely fantastic. Just a top notch, first class affair.
I'm not the only one who thought so, apparently, as county manager Toby Chappell recently published a letter to Bolt expressing appreciation for Bolt's hard work in helping make the ceremony a reality. In the letter, Chappell noted Bolt and his staff "were able to put on a first class display that truly befitted the honor and dignity that 22 service members so richly earned."
Late last week, I was able to get a little preview of the Hall of Heroes Museum. While it is still in its early stages, it contains numerous uniforms, weapons, newspaper articles, flags and other displays and artifacts that many will likely find educational and interesting. All of it has been donated, too.
So, at 3 this afternoon, pry yourself away from that NFL game on TV. You and I know the Falcons stink this year anyway and they stand very little chance against Seattle.
Instead, come to Uptown and take in a parade. Wave at the veterans. Shake their hands. Thank them for what they've done.
It's the least we can do for them, considering what they've done for us.
Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-5650; email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @IJCHRISTRAINOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.