Get Ready for the Largest Celebration of Our Heroes in Louisiana!
By Laura O’Halloran
Livingston Parish will be hosting the largest and loudest “HooRah!” to our Veterans on November 12, 2011 in Walker! All are encouraged to be a part of an all-out “Thank You!” with the Livingston Parish Veteran’s Association and the City of Walker’s Mayor Bobby Font. The festivities will continue throughout the day beginning Saturday morning at the Walker High School gymnasium with a big welcome to our Guests of Honor, ceremonies conducted by local and state dignitaries, and a grand parade saluting and honoring the Best of the Best of America!
Welcome to Livingston Parish
Come early at 8:00am to receive your flag and take part of the welcoming and waving in of four busloads of War Veterans into the City of Walker! They will be arriving from the War Veterans Homes located in Jackson and Reserve. Our heroes will be ushered in by the Patriot Guard and Iron Warriors motorcycle clubs, and Sheriff Willie Graves will also be providing a helicopter escort. All Veterans in attendance of the day’s events are offered a complimentary meal in the cafeteria from 9:30am-12:30pm which will be prepared by our one and only Chef James Window. The meals are being donated by Mayor Font and the Associated Grocers Association.
To Honor Those That Served
The ceremonies will begin approximately at 10:00am and bring your boxes of tissue as we pay a profound tribute to our Soldiers of past and present. Lynn King of the Livingston Parish Veteran’s Association will emcee the observances and the lineup of speakers to honor our brave men and women will include Congressman Bill Cassidy, Representative Jon Bell Edwards, Sheriff Willie Graves, Parish President Mike Grimmer, and City of Walker Mayor Bobby Font. Benton Thames, past Honor Guard for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, along with other local dignitaries will also be in attendance. Tommy Jarreau, a Military Order of the Purple Hearts recipient, will lead us with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner will be performed by Pat Varley.
Many presentations and musical performances will grip your heart throughout the event. The Bell Ceremony will be led by Chief Johnson and the Navy Fleet Reserve. The Livingston Parish Community Choir will perform under the direction of Barbara Sue Walker and Matt Calhoun. Tim Hill will perform “American Still Standing Tall,” and a video presentation of a tribute to fallen soldiers of Louisiana in the last three years will be given.
…and That’s Not All!
Seven special guests from the USS Louisiana from the state of Washington will be honored. These soldiers will be treated by a swamp tour and dinner at Mike Anderson’s in Baton Rouge during their visit to Louisiana, and will also be featured in the grand parade. The Blue Star Mothers will conduct a promotion ceremony for a member attending from the USS Louisiana Ballistic Submarine with Speaker Lisa White.
How We Roll
The thunder will start rolling courtesy of the Patriot Guards and Iron Warriors at 12:45pm and will be accompanied by a Marine Corp F-15 Fighter Jet flyover! The parade route will begin at the high school, traveling along Burgess Road, turning onto Florida Blvd, and return to the high school on N. Palmetto Street. Many features of the parade will include military Jeeps carrying over 40 WWII and Vietnam Veterans, 4077 Mash Unit, 45’ Aircraft Carrier float, the Military Order of the Purple Hearts float, plus a myriad of other entertaining groups and clubs.
More About The Event…
A raffle will be taking place for an iPad 2 (32 GB) valued at $600. The iPad is donated by Chance’s Computers and tickets can be purchased through the store located at 9788 Florida Blvd. in Walker. You may contact Chance Parent at 225-665-6699 for details. In addition to the iPad 2, an Otterbox valued at $90 and an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard valued at $100 will be donated by JPVarley, LLC.
This day will be the first annual Veteran’s Day event for the parish. It is long overdue and will finally honor all Veterans in a way they deserve. The Livingston Parish Veteran’s Association has been carefully planning this occasion since the beginning of the year. They work along with the Livingston Parish Citrus Revolution, and also conduct the Project Care Package for the troops currently serving overseas.
Members of the Executive Board for the Association include:
Lynn King, Chairman (email@example.com)
Rick O’Brien, Co-Chairman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tommy Jarreau, Veteran’s Liaison (email@example.com)
Pat Varley, Secretary/Treasurer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For more information please visit www.lpveteransparade.org or you may also contact them directly at email@example.com.
Information for the City of Walker including a map can also be found at http://walker.la.us.