Veterans Day parade returns Saturday
The 13th annual Veterans Day Parade is set to return Saturday to downtown Hartselle. A patriotic program honoring military veterans will kick off at 10 a.m. in front of the historic depot, followed by the parade at 11 a.m.
Lee Y. Greene, Jr. the parade organizer, expressed his gratitude for the community’s support in embracing this annual event as a new town tradition. He recounted the parade’s origins, which began 13 years ago on Veterans Day after the airing of a PBS series about the Vietnam War. Greene, along with Robert Dotson and Cleo Stubbs, initiated the parade. During a conversation with the two veterans, they shared stories of being mistreated upon their return home, leading to their decision to ensure Hartselle would never let another Veterans Day pass without a parade to express gratitude to all veterans and welcome them home.
Over time, the City of Hartselle officially recognized the parade as a city event, ensuring its continuity. Their objective was to keep the event free for all. Since its modest beginnings, the parade has expanded to feature 6-8 floats, numerous antique cars and trucks, high school bands, and various local scouting groups, according to Greene.
Col. James Henderson, Retired Army Colonel, Vietnam veteran, chaplain of several local groups and manager of WYZK FM 98.3, will deliver a speech during the patriotic program. The Veterans Parade program not only welcomes veterans home but also encourages the participation of various groups, including the HHS Civil Air Patrol and the Decatur ROTC units, who partake in combined marches. Through the years, it has become a self-sustaining event, though it still requires effort for permitting and spreading the word.
The parade will commence on Railroad Street and proceed along Main Street. For more details, contact Lee Y. Greene at 256-773-2304.