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Parade tomorrow honors veterans
Veterans Day is Nov. 11
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East End Legion Post Cmdr. Dennis Fitzgerald and Liberty County Veterans Council President Paul Spence answer questions before last year’s Veterans Day parade. - photo by File photo
Other events also mark  Veterans  Day

Savannah Vietnam Veterans of America program
• When: 5 p.m. today
• Where: Emmet Park on East Bay Street.
• What: Col. Peter Hoffman, the 3rd ID community liaison, will speak. The 3rd ID Band brass quintet will play and a 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade firing party will participate.

• Hinesville VFW program
When: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11
Where: Hinesville VFW Post 6602, Highway 196
What: Maj. Darell Robinson, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team rear detachment commander. will speak. The 4th IBCT color guard and 3rd ID Band jazz ensemble will perform.

Savannah Veterans Day parade
• When: 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11
• Where: Route begins in Forsyth Park
• What: 3rd ID color guard, 200 soldiers, Brig. Gen. Phillips and CSM Ashmen will march.
If you want to thank a soldier, young or old, for defending your freedoms, Saturday is the day.
The East Liberty County American Legion Post 321 will sponsor its second annual Veterans Day parade a few days before the Nov. 11 Veterans Day holiday.
Group and vehicle line-ups start at 8 a.m. in the Bradwell Institute parking lot and the parade begins at 9 a.m.
 “If they want to show up Saturday morning, I will put them in the parade,” Post 321 Cmdr. Dennis Fitzgerald said of last-minute arrivals.
There is no entry fee to participate and guests are encouraged to wear patriotic gear.
The parade will feature 360 3rd ID troops, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Ashmen and other city and county officials, Fort Stewart spokesperson Kevin Larson said.
“Veterans Day is an important day, honoring the men and women who served in harm’s way to preserve the freedoms we hold so dear.  We should never forget the men and women who served,” Larson said.
The Hunter Army Airfield fire truck will make an appearance in the parade, escorted by 24 veterans groups and city and county officials. 
Hinesville City Councilman and Vietnam veteran David Anderson said he is glad to see residents recognizing veterans and welcoming the 3rd ID home since that is something he and fellow Vietnam-era soldiers rarely experienced.
“Since I am a veteran and a Vietnam veteran, I am just happy and overjoyed that we are welcoming them home,” Anderson said.
East Liberty County American Legion Post 321 members decided last year to organize a parade to honor local veterans since the next-closest Veterans Day recognition parade is in Savannah.
“Being the home of the 3rd ID, I thought it was stupid we didn’t have a parade here,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re here to say thank you.”
The post commander said the upcoming festivities are designed to encourage younger generations to properly welcome home soldiers and to not forget the important events that led troops into a war.
He said he spoke earlier this week with two high school students about the significance of Veterans Day and how the holiday came about.
He mentioned World War I and said one of the students asked, “What is that?”
Fitzgerald, who said he was dumbfounded, pointed to the exchange as another reason why the Veterans Day parade must remain a tradition in Hinesville.
On Nov. 11, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Wilson declared the recognition of the day after World War I — also known as “The Great War — ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, according to the site.
The name of the holiday was officially changed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to Veterans Day.
Both Anderson and Fitzgerald said they hope to see a lot of people at this year’s event to show support of the 3rd ID and veterans everywhere.
“I just wish people would come out and be a part of it and show their support,” Anderson said. “Especially because the 3rd ID is closing in from the Iraq war … and thank them for all they do for America.” 
The parade founder and legion commander couldn’t agree more.
 “I thank all my brothers and sisters for a job well done,” he said.

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