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Friday, July 2, 2010

…And The Troops Came Marching Home!!

Town waits eagerly for return of local heroes. By Sid Riley

Thursday Afternoon our boys will be back home!! Let’s all come out and express our sincere gratitude for their service. Let’s make it a Jackson County homecoming they will always remember.

The 144th will fly in a charter military aircraft from Camp Atterbury in Indiana to Tallahassee. They will then be transported via buses to Jackson County. A local police escort will meet them near Hopkins Pontiac on the east side of Marianna, where they will motorcade to Madison Street, at the Court House in downtown Marianna. Then the parade will begin as they move at parade speed through town.

Hopefully, all of highway 90 (Lafayette Street) will be lined with flag waving, cheering and supportive local citizens welcoming our local hero’s home after a long, hard tour in the war torn nation of Afghanistan. The official parade route is from Madison Street to Pennsylvania Avenue on the West End.

The Kiwanis Club will be putting up flags in town and people are encouraged to hang patriotic decor around town.  The public is also being encouraged to come out to watch the arrival and show support for the troops. For this reason, we urge you (the families) to forego the parade and arrive early and wait for the troops at the armory. Also, we ask that you arrive early to check in as there will be reserved seating for families (including parents, spouses, children, and siblings).  Due to the uncertainty of the exact time of arrival, there will be music, (possibly party-hoppers for the kids), and other accommodations or activities to entertain the families/friends who are waiting at the armory.

After Penn Avenue the buses will head straight for the armory where all of the families and friends as well as other members of the community should be waiting to welcome them when they enter the armory!  At that time, there will be a very brief ceremony which will consist of the pledge, national anthem, and a few short speeches (thank-you’s and welcome home’s). Then the Soldiers will be dismissed to their families!!! 

It should be heart touching to see the moment when these families who have sacrificed on our behalf are again reunited. Some local restaurants will be catering and beauty queens will be serving a “to-go” meal for the Soldiers and their families to be eaten on site or taken with them. So please try to set time aside on Thursday afternoon to do your civic duty and help make this a remarkable event.

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