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EDITORIAL: Parade honors veterans

McAlester News-Capital - 5/13/2022

May 13—THUMBS UP to organizers of the recent Armed Forces Day festivities in downtown McAlester.

McAlester's two-day celebration of its 75th Anniversary Diamond Anniversary of Armed Forces Day began with the return of an annual luncheon on Friday, followed by a huge and exciting parade on Saturday.

U.S. Navy Cpt. Cedric Jessup, stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City, served as the AFD Luncheon's featured speaker and paid homage to the Navy ties in McAlester's military history and the theme to this year's festivities — the Navy's core values are "Honor, Courage and Commitment."

He said those values contribute to his love for his job and his country.

"I, like all of you in this room, love the United States of America," Jessup said at the event.

President of the Indian Nation Chapter of the Scottish Rite Dennis Wilson thanked everyone attending the luncheon for the continued support of the nation's armed forces and the AFD festivities.

Armed Forces Day Committee Chairman Jeff Wolf said McAlester's 75th Armed Forces Day Parade makes it the second longest-running in the nation — and among only eight such event sanctioned by the military.

Organizers said the Indian Chapter of the Scottish Rite took on the event after the McAlester Chamber of Commerce's Executive Board voted not to handle the Armed Forces Day activities this year.

We again applaud the Indian Chapter of the Scottish Rite for taking on the event to ensure we continued honoring our community's military history.

Jessup continued to explain how Boeing E-6B Mercury aircraft serve to relay communications and as airborne command posts to provide more mobility.

One of those aircraft led a flyover at the parade the next day, followed by a three-plane formation flyover from the Tulsa War Birds, and what some have called the biggest AFD parade.

Spectators looked up in awe as the planes flew a few times over Choctaw Avenue in McAlester to kickoff the lengthy parade.

Some of the parade entrants this year included McAlester Fire Department, McAlester Police Department, Pittsburg County Sheriff's Office, several surrounding volunteer fire departments, the Shriners, the Girls Scouts, the Boy Scouts, and many more before the Big V Clydesdales ended the show.

It was a great day as we joined together for a free event to honor our community's veterans.

We hope everyone was able to enjoy the festivities and stop to recognize and honor the veterans who are our neighbors, friends and family.

—McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board


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