The eighth annual Veterans Day Parade, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Marietta and the city of Marietta, honored the 94th anniversary of Armistice Day at the end of World War I.
Some veterans rode in the parade.
“For us, it’s a chance to remember our friends, be with other veterans and celebrate who we are,” said John Saari, director of the Georgia Vietnam Veterans Alliance. Saari served as an Army specialist 4th class during the Vietnam War, from 1966-68.
Before riding in an American Legion float down Roswell Street, Eddie Asberry of Powder Springs, who has participated several times in the parade, said he appreciates the people who come to celebrate the veterans’ service. He feels the most memorable part of the event is the anxiety he has before it starts.
“After that, you see the spectators along the route cheering us on,” he said. “We really appreciate that.”
Other veterans watched from along the parade route.
“I especially like the Junior ROTC,” said Bobby Gifford of Marietta, just before Marietta High School’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps led the parade along East Park Square. “Just watching the NCOs and officers teach the kids how to march and have a military bearing.”
Gifford, a former Air Force staff sergeant, served from 1968-72. He said Veterans Day is particularly memorable for him because it is the anniversary of his father’s death.
Others who had family members in the military enjoy the festivities.
“I always give thanks to those who served for our country,” said Faye Arrowood of Marietta, who watched the parade along Roswell Street. “I always thank a serviceman or woman and pray daily to give thanks for protecting us and giving us our freedom.”
Numerous other high schools were represented with marching bands or JROTC units, including Sprayberry, Campbell, Hillgrove, Kennesaw Mountain, McEachern, Pebblebrook, Pope, Osborne and Allatoona.
At the end of the parade route, a ceremony was held in Glover Park.
“Cobb County is committed to the citizens of Cobb County and the veterans of Cobb County and their families to ensure they are never forgotten for their sacrifice they made to their country,” said Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee. “No matter what the needs are for the veterans of Cobb County, Cobb County is committed to making sure their needs are taken care of.”
After an introduction from former U.S. Rep. Buddy Darden (D-Marietta), retired Navy Adm. James O. Ellis spoke. Ellis, a 1965 Marietta High graduate, served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare, Commander in Chief of U.S. Naval Force in Europe and Commander in Chief of Allied Forces in southern Europe.
“The real VIPS today are the veterans, some with us, many not, who answered the call,” Ellis said, with a train horn in the background that he called a “classic sound of Marietta.” “Who wore the cloth of the nation, and whose only common thread was that they called this great community their home. It is well that we remember them and I am truly honored by this opportunity.”
Organizer Scott Chadwick had hoped for larger crowds than the weekday parades that Marietta has most Veterans Days. While he didn’t have numbers for attendees along the parade route, he was hoping for between 200 and 300 people at the ceremony.
“Today, I don’t think we had more than 100, which was a disappointment,” he said.