Letter: Thank you for making Memorial Day Parade a success Letters to the editor


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On behalf of the Aiken County Veterans Affairs Office, Aiken County Veterans Council, and Aiken Memorial Day Parade Planning Committee, we thank everyone in and around Aiken County for making this annual event a success.

Special thanks go to:

• The public security workers from Aiken and the city of Aiken, who hung the banners and cleaned the streets before the parade.

• Chief Charles Barranco, CPT Brian Key, SGT Porter Smith, Aaron Hunkins and their staff on parade day for their help.

• Our Rotary volunteers who helped guide applicants to the position, including Robert Smyczynski, Bill Wolnar, Allison Hamilton, Jane Page Thompson, Susan Dupee, Matt Dupee, Chris Caldwell, Lisa Van Pelt Diller, Noble Diller, Andrea Thomas and Sharon Rodgers and to Ellen Priest for helping us coordinate.

• Andrew Siders for a powerful rendition of the national anthem and Bryan Mitchell for providing the sound system.

• Our Grand Marshal Norman Thibodeau and our First Lady Jeanne Townes and their drivers.

• Those who drove old and new vehicles, walked or participated in the parade.

• Jena, the Celebrate Freedom Foundation helicopter.

• To MOAA for filling the assessment stand.

• Shellhouse Funeral Home for the stand tent and for the antique caisson and the Aiken Mounted Unit for the riderless horse.

• Aiken golf course for golf cart rental.

• The Aiken Sheriff’s Pipes & Drums, the Parris Island Marine Band, and the South Carolina National Guard’s 246th Army Band for the incredible music. And the First Presbyterian Church and Saint Mary’s School to provide housing for the band.

• The 130+ organizations that took part in the parade. And especially to the hundreds of patriotic citizens who came to see the parade – we are so very grateful for each of you. They continue to support us and the overarching reason we hold this parade every year: to remind our youth and empower our citizens that Memorial Day is a time of solemn reflection to honor the members of the armed forces who are the ultimate Have made sacrifices so that we can continue to live in freedom.

The members of this year’s Parade Planning Committee did an excellent job managing a variety of details. We are grateful for your commitment and support. Leslie Hull-Ryde, Councilor Gail Diggs, Catherine Bedenbaugh, Ed Knight, Haley Knight, Brian Wilner, Shannon Mayes, Rita Herrick, Karen Thompson, Sheila Pate, Don Jenkins and Dave Twigg – thank you all. Dwight Bradham, Aiken County Veterans Service Officer and Lowell Koppert, Chairman of the Aiken County Veterans Council: We could not have done it without your support and dedication to this cause.

We are already making plans for next year’s parade and hope that the wonderful citizens of this special community will work with us again to pay another successful and unique tribute to the fallen. Make a note of May 28, 2022 in your calendar now.

Duncan Huyler and Linda Caldwell

Directors of the 2021 Aiken Memorial Day Parade

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