Robert Waldrop plans on making a good first impression at his second chance at being a parade grand marshal.
The U.S. Army Air Corps veteran, World War II prisoner of war and Purple Heart recipient is happy to pick up where he left off before last year's Veterans Day Parade was canceled in Beaufort.
"I'm looking forward to representing all past and present members of the military," the Dataw Island resident said. "God bless the U.S.A."
Rain might have put a damper on some of last year's Veterans Day events, but if organizers, vets and other patriotic citizens have their way, nothing will stop this year's celebration of men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces.
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Linda Bogan of the Beaufort County Veterans Affairs Office encourages the community to attend today's parade to honor active-duty and retired service members.
"They deserve our gratitude and recognition," Bogan said. "And we're very pleased that we're able to put on this program every year. It's an honor and a privilege for us to be able do that, and we're ... extremely fortunate that we have the Navy and the Marine Corps right here for participation."
Bogan said Air Force and Coast Guard color guards from Charleston also will play a part in this year's parade, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. today on Rodgers Street in downtown Beaufort. The parade will follow the City of Beaufort downtown parade route, ending at the Beaufort National Cemetery, 1601 Boundary St., where a Veterans Day ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. A reception will immediately follow at AMVETS Post No. 70, 1831 Ribaut Road in Port Royal. Details: 843-255-6880
For those south of the Broad River, the Military Veterans Coalition of Hilton Head Island and the town of Hilton Head Island will host the annual Veterans Day observance at 10:30 a.m. today at the veterans memorial in Shelter Cove Community Park on Hilton Head. The coalition represents the three primary veterans organizations on the island -- the Navy League of the United States, the Military Officers Association of America and American Legion Post 185.
Program chairman Gene Sullivan said the Hilton Head ceremony will last about an hour and will include a performance by the Hilton Head Island Choral Society and a Marine firing detail. A flyover of Marine Corps jets also is planned. Organizers expect about 500 people, and the town has provided seating for 450 people. Details: 843-384-0964
Also happening south of the Broad: Sun City Hilton Head's annual Veterans Day ceremony. The community, along with the Sun City Veterans Association, will host this event for Sun City residents at 10 a.m. today in the parking lot in front of Pinckney Hall. The ceremony will include a color guard presentation, march-in, and performances by the Sun City Singers and students of Cross Schools.