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Veterans Parade set for Saturday

Servicemen and women will be honored Saturday in an event thatis fast becoming a Brookhaven tradition.

The third annual Veterans Parade is scheduled will begin at 10a.m. at the Military Memorial Museum in the old downtown traindepot.

Veterans are invited to come and participate by riding invintage and modern military vehicles or by marching in the parade.Vehicle line up begins at 8:30 a.m. in front of the depot andveterans should be there by 9:30 a.m., event organizer Chad Smithsaid.

“We want all veterans to show up. This parade is for them,” hesaid.

The modern equipment will be supplied by the 185th AviationGroup, the “Catfish Brigade,” of Jackson. In past years, the 155thInfantry Battalion has supplied the vehicles, but with that unit’sdeployment to Iraq the 185th “graciously agreed” to provide themfor the parade, Smith said.

In addition, Col. Bradley MacNealy, the commanding officer ofthe 185th, has agreed to speak after the parade about the unit’srecent experiences in the combat zone and what he believes willhappen there in the near future.

Marine Maj. James Christmas will also give a presentation, Smithsaid.

The highlight of the parade may be at the opening of the parade,Smith said. The Army has agreed to fly in an Apache helicopter.

“As of right now, we have an Apache helicopter that will land afew minutes prior to the parade and sit there as a display itemuntil after the parade,” he said.

Each year, the parade highlights the service of a few of itslocal heroes. This year’s honorees are the late Opal Bert, a formerArmy nurse from 1959-1991; Kenneth Robinson, a participant in theD-Day invasion of France during World War II; and Van Hatcher, aglider pilot during World War II.

The parade will follow the same route as its predecessors. Itproceeds down Whitworth Avenue from the museum, turns south onCherokee Street, west on Jackson Street, north on Monticello Streetand east on First Street, stopping at the courthouse for a wreathlaying ceremony at the Lincoln County Veterans Memorial. Aftertaps, the parade continues down First Street, turns south north onChickasaw Street and east on Whitworth Avenue to end where it allbegan.

The Military Memorial Museum will open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.for the special event and will be staffed with volunteer veteranswho can answer questions about the various exhibits.

“We’ve got a lot of new stuff since last year,” Smith said.”We’ve added a Civil War and World War I exhibit since lastyear.”

In addition, he said, items are always being added to existingexhibits as they become available to keep the exhibits fresh andnew.

“We always have a good turnout,” Smith said. “It’s important toshow these guys how much we appreciate what they did.”

Refreshments will be served on the lawn of the depot after theparade.