ALPHARETTA, Ga. – For the 62nd year, Alpharetta will shut down Ga. 9 in downtown for the annual Old Soldiers Day Parade.
The Old Soldiers Day Parade began as a tribute to veterans of the War Between the States, but was discontinued after a few years. Twenty-eight years later, in 1952, a small group of men in Alpharetta re-dedicated Old Soldiers Day in Alpharetta and started having a parade through downtown Alpharetta. Thanks to these few men and their belief in keeping this memorable tradition alive, this parade has become an annual celebration to all veterans of all wars.
“Veterans are believers in upholding tradition,” said Marty Farrell, immediate past commander of the American Legion Post 201. “People love a parade and this is something we like doing. It gives the people of Alpharetta and the surrounding communities an opportunity to really come out and support the veteran community.”
The parade will start just north of City Hall, at the intersection of Ga. 9 and Milton Avenue, then run south to Old Milton Parkway and turn toward Wills Road. It will end at the American Legion Post 201 where visitors can stay for a free cook-out.
The keynote speaker this year is Don Giles, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy from Marietta. He was an aviator who flew 6,000 flight-hours in anti-submarine aircraft doing intelligence missions during the Cold War. He was stationed in Argentina, Bermuda, Italy, Alaska and Japan.
He retired in 1994.
Along with the program and parade, this celebration will also feature floats, bands, entertainment, children’s activities and prizes.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Teach our children God, Flag, Honor, Country,” one that Farrell said was important not just to veterans but the whole community.
“I can’t think of anything more important than to carry on these traditions,” Farrell said. “In a lot of ways, we have gotten away from our religious beliefs and our patriotism. Those are important foundations on which this country was built. We need to do our part to foster and perpetuate those ideals.”
Several streets will be shut for the parade, with traffic to be routed around downtown from about 7 a.m. to just after noon. Expect significant delays between detours and parade traffic.
The program for the parade will begin at 10 a.m., and the procession will start at 10:30 a.m.