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EDITORIAL: Support military, veterans at Armed Forces Day Parade

McAlester News-Capital - 5/2/2024

May 2—It's a simple request — go and enjoy the Armed Forces Day Parade and honor our veterans and current military members in the process.

McAlester-area residents have already shown their support for the annual Armed Forces Day Luncheon, which is also part of the two-day AFD celebration in McAlester.

This year's luncheon is set for 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 3, at the Aldridge Ballroom. The AFD Luncheon, with U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Christopher B. Williams the featured speaker, is already a sold-out event.

Now, Armed Forces Day Committee Chairman Jeff Wolf and other organizers are hoping for a similar level of enthusiasm for the AFD parade, set to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, in downtown McAlester.

Each year a different branch of the U.S. military service is honored. With the U.S. Air Force the 2024 honoree, the theme of this year's AFD celebration in McAlester is "Fight Fly Win."

Several flyovers over downtown McAlester are scheduled during the parade, including flyovers by Warbirds, two F-16 fighter jets and a post-parade flyover led by local pilot David Verner.

Something new will be along the parade route this year, with the new downtown pavilion/outdoor stage at the intersection of First Street and Choctaw Avenue serving as the reviewing stand for the Armed Forces Day Parade.

In addition to the area around the reviewing stand, plenty of spots should be available to view the Armed Forces Day Parade along its route.

It will embark from A Street and head down Carl Albert Parkway to Fifth Street. It will then continue south for a block, then head west along Choctaw Avenue to S. Main Street.

Organizers said those who would like to take part in the parade but have missed the signup time can still participate, simply by showing up and joining the back of the parade lineup which begins on S. A Street. No entry fees are in place for parade participants.

When asked earlier this week how preparations for the Armed Forces Day events in McAlester, Wolf said "Everything's lining up."

Now, Wolf and other organizers of the Armed Forces Day events in McAlester are hoping McAlester-area residents and visitors will line up on Saturday and fill the sidewalks for the parade and scheduled flyovers.

Wolf said having area residents and visitors fill up the sidewalks for the parade is a way to show our veterans and current military how much their service is appreciated.

When people show up on the streets "It's like giving them a big hug," Wolf said of the message it sends.

It's a message he hopes is resoundingly sent and received during Saturday's AFD Parade.


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