What: 64th annual Armed Forces Day Parade
When: 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 3
Where: On Market Street from M.L. King Boulevard to Second Street
Hey, mister, strike up the band!
The 64th annual Armed Forces Day Parade, with more than 100 bands, floats and Junior ROTC units offering up a patriotic theme, will thunder down Market Street at 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 3.
"Based on the research I have done," said Patty Parks, chair-elect of the Chattanooga Area Veterans Council, "this is the only continuous Armed Forces Day parade."
Armed Forces Day was the result of an effort led by President Harry S. Truman to establish a single holiday to thank members of the military for their service. On Aug. 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the day's creation, replacing separate Army, Navy and Air Force days.
"The purpose [of the parade], especially in our area where we don't have a lot of military installations, is to allow people to become aware of what the military is doing for them," Parks said.
Each year a different service is featured in the parade and subsequent luncheon. The Coast Guard will be spotlighted this year.
The parade will begin with a flyover by craft from Hixson Flight Museum at 10:30 a.m. Following that, the parade will begin at the corner of M.L. King Boulevard and Market Street and continue down Market Street to Second Street.
Among the entries are a mass band from Hamilton County high schools, separate bands from Howard School and Brainerd High School, and eight JROTC units from Hamilton County and three more from the area.
The parade is followed by a noon luncheon at the Chattanooga Convention Center, where Cmdr. Bob Helton, head of the Marine Safety Detachment of the U.S. Coast Guard in Nashville, will be the speaker.
Paradegoers not attending the luncheon may tour the U.S. Oauchita, a Coast Guard cutter that will be moored at Ross's Landing from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to Parks. The cutter is regularly stationed at the Coast Guard station on Chickamauga Lake.
"They do a lot of work out there," she said. "I think their patrol area is pretty vast."
Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress .com or 423-767-6497. Subscribe to his posts at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.