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franklin county times

American Legion hosting Veteran’s Day parade Sunday

Veterans Day falls on a Sunday this year, but officials who host Veterans Day events said they hoped the weekend observance would allow more people to attend the annual parade and reception held to honor those who fought, served and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

This year’s American Legion Veterans Day parade will be at 2 p.m. in downtown Russellville with the RHS Marching Hundred, the RHS ROTC, the UNA ROTC, and the Cotton Flats Crusiers car club, who will be providing cars for all veterans to ride in.

A reception will immediately follow the parade at the A.W. Todd Centre for all veterans, their families and all community members.

The reception will feature refreshments and Command Sgt. Maj. Steve Boatwright, who carried the 115th Expeditionary Signal Battalion to Iraq in 2005, will be the speaker.

Lt. Col. Grant Atkins, who retired with 30 years of service in the military and now serves as the commander of American Legion Post 64, said he was hoping for a larger turnout for this year’s events.

“Each year that we’ve had the parade and reception on a weekday during the day, we always have people, and veterans in particular, who say they would love to come but aren’t able to get off work,” Atkins said.

“When we saw that Veterans Day actually fell on a weekend this year, we decided to go ahead and have our events on the actual day.

“With the events being at 2 p.m. on Sunday, that should give everyone an opportunity to be there. It will give people enough time to get home from church and eat lunch and give them enough time to make it back for church that evening, so we think it will work out better this way.”

Atkins said he hoped the members of the community would come out and show their support and respect this weekend for the men and women who have done so much for America.

“It is only right for us to honor those who have made sacrifices to go and serve their country and make sure that we have the freedoms we have today,” Atkins said. “We are blessed to have many veterans here in Franklin County and we hope they will all come out for Thursday’s events.”

He added that this year’s parade and reception would be extra special with the recent return of many local men and women of the 115th ESB from their tour of duty in Afghanistan.

“We hope to honor as many of those returning soldiers as we can on Sunday,” he said. “We want this to be a special time for all the veterans and their families.”

Any veterans wishing to ride in the parade should be at the A.W. Todd Centre by 1:30 p.m. Sunday. All veterans are welcome and encouraged to ride in the parade.

Any churches, businesses or other organizations who would like to participate in the parade can contact Atkins at 256-332-2332.