41st Annual Veterans Day Parade at The Battery Atlanta Honors Nation’s Heroes
November 13 – CUMBERLAND – The community gathered at The Battery Atlanta on Saturday morning for the Georgia Veterans Day Association’s 41st Annual Veterans Day Parade to honor the country’s veterans and active duty military for their service and sacrifice.
Thousands of Georgians from across the Atlanta metro area lined the streets of The Battery in their patriotic attire for the annual event hosted by the GVDA.
Each year, the GVDA pays special tribute to a specific group of veterans. This year, the association presented its theme, “Wheels Up” to honor all members of military aviation nationwide.
The parade began at 11 a.m. with a pre-opening ceremony to announce and introduce event dignitaries, followed by a speech by Georgia Veterans Day Association President Kevin Miller. The Atlanta Vocal Project also performed patriotic anthems to kick off the parade.
“We dream of having these Veterans Day events every year. We work about 51 weeks a year to make that happen,” Miller said in a speech. “This parade is our 41st parade and we couldn’t be more excited to be here at The Battery, to have this kind of venue to host our parade.”
Master of Ceremonies and veteran Vincent Abril announced all of the military organizations, community leaders and seasoned veterans who participated in the parade.
The nation’s heroes and parade participants drove around The Battery and Truist Park with vintage cars, military vehicles and festive floats.
The Georgia Veterans Day Association is made up of 20 boards of directors and more than 100 volunteers who volunteer their unpaid time to show their appreciation to veterans nationwide, said GVDA public relations director Megan Bell.
“Our veterans are heroes in our country. They sacrificed themselves…to serve us and to serve their country,” Bell said. “We’re just sacrificing one day. It’s the least we can do to show them the honor and give them the respect they deserve.”
Students enrolled in local military academies and JROTC groups also participated in the parade and received praise from their families and the community.
This year’s Veterans Day Parade had one of the largest turnouts in the country of ROTC and JROTC groups, Abril said in a speech.
Curtis Lee Echols III, a third-generation veteran, attended the parade and followed with his son, Curtis Lee Echols IV, who is a member of Westlake High School JROTC.
“I’m so proud of my boy,” the eldest Echols said. “He is my pride and my joy. He is a leader among his peers.”
The Veterans Day Parade was just the start of a day of celebrations. Following the parade, a Veterans Festival encouraged community participation and included more than 20 exhibits from veterans service organizations and displays of equipment from the National Infantry Museum.
The day ended with the annual Freedom Ball black-tie event at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, where the celebration continued all evening.