Local veterans’ organizations led by the Hinesville Military Affairs Committee will host the inaugural Veterans Salute at Saturday, Nov. 16.
The event to honor all veterans of all branches of service will kick off at 10 a.m. with the annual Veterans Day Parade through downtown Hinesville, HMAC publicity specialist Ron Collins said.
He said the annual parade was rescheduled from Monday to Saturday to support the bigger family event.
“We’re a (Metropolitan Statistical Area) and hub city,” Collins said. “We’re a military community, and we don’t have anything to really honor our veterans. We need something like Veterans Salute.”
Following the parade, the community is invited to Bryant Commons for the opening ceremony at noon. That event will begin with the national anthem played by the 3rd Infantry Division band and the invocation by Dr. Richard Wright of Hinesville First Methodist Church. HMAC Chairman and City Councilman David Anderson will introduce special guests, including Mayor Jim Thomas, city councilmen, county commissioners and Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield commander Maj. Gen. Mike Murray.
Collins said there is no entry fee for the event. Guests can buy raffle and door-prize tickets in advance or at the event. He said raffle items include a $1,000 gift certificate from Gibson Furniture, a $500 gift certificate for Smiley Lawn Service, an iPad from Geo Vista Credit Union and a shock watch from Ranger Joe’s. Tickets can be purchased at Geo Vista Credit Union’s Hinesville branch, Bee’s Creations, Ranger Joe’s or directly from HMAC members.
He said 15 or more food, beer and wine, and arts and crafts vendors will be permitted to operate. There also will be static military displays, live entertainment and children’s activities. Entertainment will
include the 3rd ID band, Armstrong Atlantic State University’s gospel choir and local band 3rd Class Citizens.
Collins, a retired soldier, said Veterans Salute serves a dual purpose. He said it is the community’s opportunity to honor service men and women, past and present. Also, funds raised from the event will be used by HMAC to build a Veterans Memorial Walk at Bryant Commons. He called the memorial a lasting memorial to the service and sacrifice of the men and women of Liberty County who served in America’s Armed Forces.
Collins said HMAC members met Oct. 28 at the Hinesville Police Department to work out final logistical details for the event. He commended Vicki Davis, director of the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, and Leah Poole, CEO of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, for their advice and assistance.
City leaders believe there will be sufficient parking space on site, Collins said; if not, there is a back-up plan involving the county’s transit buses. Collins said a tent has been donated by Holtzman Realty for a covered dining area, and they are hoping to get tables and chairs for the dining area from the Liberty County Recreation Department.
Guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets to enjoy the live entertainment at the amphitheater, he said. He said no coolers will be allowed.