Memorial Day Parade is for whole community

Published 12:38 am Sunday, May 28, 2017

Let us start some new memories of a very time-honored tradition, the Vidalia/Natchez Memorial Day Parade!

For many years, citizens of Vidalia, Natchez, surrounding areas and from around the United States have come together this one weekend of the year to celebrate and honor our military men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice and also for those who are fighting now.

I am referring to the Memorial Day Parade that starts in Vidalia and winds its way into Natchez, culminating in a historical dedication to those men and women of the past, present and future of the military.

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Throughout history, there have been many different perceptions of our military. At times, they were lauded for the good that they have accomplished and then there were those times when they were ridiculed for going off to fight a war that many Americans did not agree upon.

As a fellow vet, I can attest to the fact that when you are in the military and are called upon to serve your country, you do it proudly and without complaints…well, not too many complaints and not too loudly.

Joining the military was, perhaps, one of the best things that I have ever had the pleasure of doing. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of bad days, long cruises and missed time being away from my family. With that being said, it was all worth it because I knew that what I was doing was vitally necessary to help ensure the safety and security of not only my family but the lives of all Americans.

My joining the military was inspired by the Memorial Day parades that I attended when I was a youth. We would eagerly await the start of the parade near the church on the corner of Alabama Street. You could feel the excitement in the air as both young and old gathered in anticipation of the parade start. It gave you a sense of pride to walk with them but as a youth, I did not truly understand the meaning of the parade until I became older. It finally dawned on me that this time-honored tradition symbolized how much it meant for so many people who had lost someone in the military and for the families whose sons and daughters were currently deployed who used the parade as a way of expressing their gratitude and love for them.

I am writing this letter because for too long there has not been enough participation in the parade. There are people who actually come from as far away as California to march, in the parade but there are locals here who balk at it because it seems to slow their commute across the bridges.

The Memorial Day Parade is not a black parade. Granted, when it was started, it may have seemed that way but it is more than that. It is a chance for all of us to come out and honor our military service member both past and present.

It is a chance to get together and enjoy a memorable one day of the year where there is love and unity abound. Also, I do not know how many of you have ever actually walked across the Vidalia/Natchez Bridge; but it is a fantastic view to behold. The mighty Mississippi is much more regal and majestic in appreciation on foot than it will ever be while inside of a car.

Lace up those sneakers; oil that baby stroller, polish that cane or sit tight in your wheelchair and come join the parade. I promise that once you do it, you will make a promise to yourself that you will most certainly do it again next year.

Come out Vidalia, Natchez and surrounding areas and help celebrate our military. They have always been there for us and will continue to be in the future, and this is our way of showing them how much we are there for them.

Please share this out to help get the word out to as many people as we can.

If you feel as if something needs to be added, please feel free to do so.
Johnny Trust is a sponsor of the annual Memorial Day parade.