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Veterans parade to be held in Leesburg on Saturday

Albany Herald - 11/6/2018

Nov. 06--LEESBURG -- After more than eight years of trying to hold a veterans parade in southwest Georgia, the SOWEGA Veterans Coalition and the city of Leesburg are making it happen and just in time for the 100-year anniversary of World War I.

The parade will begin on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Lee County High School and follow the same route as the community's Christmas parade to the Lee County Courthouse. The event is free.

"This area has probably one of the largest concentrations of veterans (in Georgia)," SOWEGA Veterans Coalition Chairman Paul Murray said. "Every branch of the armed forces is still here. This is very significant for the area. We originally planned on postponing (because of the devastation in the region from Hurricane Michael), but Leesburg said 'No, we need to do this and start something and maybe give people a break, and what a better way to do this than to honor veterans.'"

The parade will feature the Lee County High School Drill Team, the Lee NJROTC Color Guard and American Legion floats. The American Legion Riders will be featured in the parade as well. Murray is the director of the American Legion Riders in Sylvester.

The Veterans Coalition was instrumental in the instillation of the World War II and Korean War memorials in Albany'sVeterans Park. The coalition comprises 13 organizations, including all local American Legions, the Marine Corps League and the Air Force Sergeants Association.

"The SOWEGA Veterans Coalition was primarily involved in the veterans ceremony at the Albany Civic Center for the past seven or eight years," Murray said. "Our main goal eventually was to try to have a parade through Albany. Not very many people can remember the last time they ever heard of a Veterans Day parade in the region. It never came to fruition, but this year the city of Leesburg offered their services to accommodate a veterans parade for the area."

In Albany, the Veterans Coalition will celebrate Veterans Day on Sunday at the Broad Avenue Memorial Bridge at 10:45 a.m. with a wreath-hanging ceremony, a rifle salute and Echo Taps. The bridge was dedicated to the people from Dougherty County who served in WW I, according to Murray.

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(c)2018 The Albany Herald, Ga.

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