Planning under way for May veterans parade

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 10, 2003

In conjunction with Memorial Day, planning is under way forparade to honor veterans and other military personnel for theirservice to the country.

Chad Smith and Eric K. Boyd, two military vehicle collectorsfrom Brookhaven, are meeting with veterans, military servicerepresentatives and others as they prepare for the event. Theparade is scheduled for Saturday, May 24, which two days beforeMemorial Day.

“Eric and I have wanted to do a parade in Brookhaven for years,”Smith said.

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Smith said he would like to involve as many young people aspossible in the parade. He cited the importance of remembering thesacrifices that veterans made for the country.

“I’ve always had a lot of respect for these guys and enjoyedhelping them,” Smith said.

Sgt. Benji Landry, a Marine recruiter from McComb, is workingwith Smith and Boyd on parade plans. Landry said he is trying toget area high school ROTC classes, delayed entry military servicepersonnel, a color guard and others to take part in the parade.

“If it’s within my grasp, they get it, bottom line,” Landrysaid.

Paul Jackson, who served in World War II in France, and severalfriends are also working on parade plans.

“We’re representing the veterans and trying to help out,”Jackson said.

Jackson was hopeful for a good representation of veterans duringthe parade.

“We’re trying to get at least a couple or three hundred,”Jackson said.

Spider Webb, a Magnolia veteran who served in World War II andin Korea, was optimistic for a good turnout.

“I imagine in a 50-mile radius, you can pick up a good crowd,”Webb said.

Between them, Smith and Boyd have 19 World War II era vehicles.Smith said those vehicles and other military memorabilia will be ondisplay during the parade.

“We’ll probably have the largest collection of military vehiclesfrom that ear since the war,” Smith said.

Organizers have already determined a route for the parade, whichwill begin around 10 a.m. It will start at the old railroad depot,traveling along Monticello Street to Jackson Street and down toChickasaw Street. The parade will stop at the government complexfor a ceremony at the back to Monticello Street and the depot.

Smith said a reception honoring veterans will follow the parade.He said other details will be worked out in the months ahead asparade planning continues.