Who has the map?

We went to The Old Soldier’s Day Parade in Alpharetta this morning as we do the first Saturday of nearly every August. There was a slight change to the route this year, normally they go down Roswell Street and turn left onto Old Milton Pkwy. This year there’s construction on that end of Roswell Street so they were going to go down Roswell Street from the other end and take a right turn. To give everyone plenty of space to turn they were going to make a wide right and go down the “wrong” side of the road — so the parade would be on the other side of Old Milton. So everyone is lined up, the motorcycle group with all the big flags comes down the street. The right side of the street. All the people are on the other side. And this is a big street with a concrete median and lots of trees. So a bunch of people jump up and run out to the median and even across the other side of the street. We stayed put to see what was going to happen. In the meantime the motorcycles realized there’s no crowd so at the break in the median where you can make a turn they crossed the street.

You can see where the motorcycles crossed and people are coming back.
You can see where the motorcycles crossed to the “right” side of the street and people are coming back.

They’re kind of the “opening act” of the parade. There was a break of about five minutes and then the police escort started the parade and they knew where they were going.

Finally, someone who knows what's going on!
Finally, someone who knows what’s going on!

The Old Soldier’s Day Parade started shortly after the Civil War when the veterans of that war met in Alpharetta to trade old war stories. They met for a weekend and then as they were leaving on Sunday, people lined up along Main Street to wave to them. The years past and World War I came and went and the old soldiers invited the young veterans of WWI to join them. They continued the weekend retreats and informal parade until 1924 when it all kind of faded away as the oldest soldiers were truly old and not longer in good health. World War II came and went and in 1952, someone decided it was time to revive the parade, if not the retreats, and the first Saturday in August became the day to honor veterans. There’s a 5K race early in the morning, a ceremony (that we’ve never been to) and a parade. Because it’s not a holiday, everyone is in town and there’s no competing parades, it’s a really big parade. I’m not sure how long the route is but it takes about an hour to watch it. That’s pretty long for a small town.

The Grand Marshal was Lee Brown who is 90 and WWII veteran. He was an Army Ranger and involved in the D-Day Ranger. I didn’t get a photo of him but here’s one from the Roswell Newspaper.

Lee Brown in the gentleman in the suit with his wife, Helen.

It seems there are fewer and fewer veterans every year although the parade seems to get bigger and bigger!

Color Guard
Color Guard
Purple Heart recipients
Purple Heart recipients
Submarine veterans
Submarine veterans

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Korean War Veterans
Korean War Veterans
We liked the eagle from the Roswell post of the American Legion.
We liked the eagle from the Roswell post of the American Legion.
Float marking 70 years since the end of WWII. They were playing Big Band music from the '40s.
Float marking 70 years since the end of WWII. They were playing Big Band music from the ’40s.
And this lady was dancing with everyone to the Big Band music. Took Heath by surprise.
And this lady was dancing with everyone to the Big Band music. Took Heath by surprise.

And there’s always the Shriners.

This is my idea of riding in a parade.
This is my idea of riding in a parade.
Whoa horsey I mean car
Whoa horsey I mean car
Not the Shriners but Heath liked the John Deere tractor
Not the Shriners but Heath liked the John Deere tractor

Old cars …

Old car #1
Old car #1
Riding in the rumble seat
Riding in the rumble seat

You see lots of instruments in parades … drums and bugles and the usual band assortment of flutes, clarinets, trumpets and French horns. You don’t normally see strings. We saw two groups with strings. One was an Irish dance group. The other said “North Fulton Fiddlers” and they were passing out flyers that looked like it was open to any student. When I looked it up at home I was disappointed to find it’s an after-school club at Chattahoochee High School. Naturally not where Katy will go to high school.

The Irish fiddlers
The North Fulton Fiddlers from Chattahoochee high
A truck-load of basses from Chattahoochee High School.
A truck-load of basses from Chattahoochee.
The Irish fiddlers
The Irish fiddlers

And being the Old Soldier’s Day Parade there’s the candy scramble.

Katy picking up candy.
Katy picking up candy.

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We always go home and weigh our loot. This year it was four pounds, once ounce. She’ll be taking it to a birthday party next week. A dentist was throwing toothbrushes and she got one of those, too.

Big bag of cavities!
Big bag of cavities!

After the parade The Varsity has free hot dogs and drinks at the American Legion Post. We don’t usually go but Heath and Katy wanted to this time. There hot dogs aren’t all that great but it’s free and we need lunch, anyway.

However, not everyone was having a fun morning. On the way home we spotted this helicopter circling the area where the church Bobbi Kristina Brown’s funeral was being held. The state police were handling security and we’re sure this is one of their helicopters keeping an eye on things from the air.

Finally, someone who knows what's going on!

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