American Valor Quarterly Issue 3 - Summer 2008 - Page 4

The 2008 National Memorial Day Parade Presented by the American Veterans Center On May 26, 2008, more than 250,000 spectators lined Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC for the Fourth Annual National Memorial Day Parade, presented by the American Veterans Center. In a spectacular tribute to those who have served and are serving, and most importantly those who have given their lives for our country, the parade featured thousands of participants that included marching bands, veterans, military vehicles, and active duty service personnel. It was televised worldwide on the Pentagon Channel where it could be seen by service members stationed both at home and abroad. Memorial Day is one of our nation’s most important and solemn holidays. It is not merely a day off work or school, or the “unofficial start of summer” as many call it. Instead, it is a day for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to come together and honor those who have sacrificed in service to our country. The National Memorial Day Parade was founded by the American Veterans Center in 2005 to serve as such an outlet. Prior to that year, Washington, DC - the nation’s capital and headquarters of our military - was without a parade on Memorial Day for nearly 70 years. Additionally, while parades on Memorial Day have been a tradition in small towns and cities around the country for well over a century, sadly, they are slowly fading away as the true spirit of the holiday becomes lost. The National Memorial Day Parade is our effort to call attention to the meaning of the day, while providing an opportunity for families to gather and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. A major theme of this year’s National Memorial Day Parade was honoring the “citizen-soldiers” of the U.S. Army Reserve on the 100th Anniversary of the Reserve. Marching past the hundreds of thousands of spectators were platoons of Reservists (above), the U.S. Army Reserve Band (left), and the parade’s Honorary Grand Marshal, Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, Chief, Army Reserve and Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command. As the 2007 parade focused on the 60th Anniversary of the Air Force, the 2008 parade was largely devoted to the United States Army and Army Reserve. The parade featured distinguished Army veterans and active duty soldiers throughout, including those who have served from World War II to the present day. AMERICAN VALOR QUARTERLY - Summer 2008 - 4