Sumter Veterans Day parade, meet and greet set


Lt. Gen. Michael Garrett, commanding general of U.S. Army Central/Coalition Forces Land Component Command, will be the keynote speaker and parade marshal for the 2017 Veterans Day parade and meet and greet Saturday, Nov. 11, at the old Sumter County Courthouse, 141 N. Main St.

The observance will begin with the parade at 10 a.m. Activities on the courthouse front lawn will begin with patriotic music at 10:45 a.m.

At 11 a.m., Larry Huff of Sumter County Veterans will welcome attendees, and the Lakewood High School Air Force ROTC will present the colors. Huff will lead attendees in the pledge of allegiance, and Senior Airman Cecile Saucier will perform "The Star-Spangled Banner."

A tribute to POW/MIAs will be presented by Huff, the Lakewood High School AFROTC will present the POW/MIA flag, and Grey Holler will perform "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes.

Garrett will be introduced by retired Chief Master Sgt. Christopher McKinney, who is current executive director of Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart will conduct a Memorial Wreath Ceremony, and Shaw Air Force Base will present a 21-gun salute. Holler will play taps.

Sumter County Veterans Affairs Director Valerie Brunson will honor selected Vietnam-era veterans with a presentation of medallions thanking them for their service. Veterans who wish to be eligible for the award must have their DD-214s on file with Sumter Veterans Affairs, Brunson said. She said all Vietnam-era vets are eligible to receive a lapel pin commemorating the 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.

After the ceremonies, a veterans' fair and meet and greet will be held on the back lawn of the courthouse, including vendors with information of value to veterans and barbecue by Sumter Combat Veterans.

Line-up for the parade begins at 9 a.m. at the corner of Main and Bartlette streets in the parking lot of Central Carolina Technical College Health Sciences Center and will proceed north down Main Street. The procession will make a right onto Calhoun Street and then a right onto Harvin Street before ending at the Sumter County Judicial Center, where entries will be able to offload participants and park in the judicial center back parking lot.

Anyone who would like to participate in the parade or as a vendor at the meet and greet is urged to contact the Sumter County Veterans Affairs office at (903) 436-2303 or