Budget cuts force revamped Memorial Day parade
The Memorial Day celebration in Thomasville has lost some attractions but hasn’t lost any of the heart.
Budget cuts have led to a scaled down Memorial Day parade and ceremony in Thomasville but organizer Joe Leonard promises it will still do what it is meant to do.
“This ceremony and parade are to honor our veterans, the war dead and their families,” Leonard said. “We’re still gonna do that.”
The Army Band, a combat helicopter static display and active duty Airborne jumpers jumping from a C-130 aircraft from the National Guard were all scheduled to come to Thomasville for its extravagant Memorial Day parade and Ceremony.
“When we’re told anything, we’re told that the higher authority wouldn’t authorize the travel or the funds, could be higher military personnel on up to The White House,” Leonard said. “But we did not stop. We are still going forward to honor those who serve.”
In place of the Army Band, the 82 Airborne Division band from Fort Bragg will play a concert on Sunday night; the helicopter display will be replaced by a World War II AT6 vintage aircraft; and, retired jumpers will jump from a civilian aircraft into Cushwa Stadium.
Leonard said that 26 families that have lost loved ones will still be honored at the ceremony Sunday at Hillside Park Baptist Church on at 5 p.m. followed by the band concert at the Finch Auditorium.
The parade will begin downtown at 11 a.m. Monday. The parade and ceremony are free and open to the public and Leonard said that the Memorial Day committee and Salvation Army will be giving away hot dogs as long as they have them.
Leonard said the committee members have given their time, talents and money to be able to put on the Memorial Day celebration.
“This is how a community comes together for something we think is important,” Leonard said.
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