When the 200-unit National Memorial Day Parade is held May 31 in Washington, D.C., one of those units will be veterans of the 99th Infantry Division.
Representatives of each of our nation’s wars are heralded beginning with the Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, WWI, WWII, and up through the years to the war in Iraq, so WE want to be there!
One of the features of the parade is that at 3 p.m. everything stops and “Taps” are sounded along the mile-long parade route in memory of those who have died in the many wars. Buglers spaced along the line of march echo the sound all along the way. It is impressive.
The only WWII Army Divisions in recent parades are the 82nd and 101st Airborne and the 99th Infantry. Note that the tough airborne guys usually ride in Command cars, but the 99ers have usually had six on the ground and six riding. The Infantry marches on!
The 99ers begin with a luncheon in the parish hall of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill during which time we tell stories that sometimes bring tears to the eyes of the volunteers who provide the lunch — and sometimes laughter. It is a time of sharing and fellowship (which may be as important as the march).
Vets are transported to the assembly area shortly after noon and their guests are transported by volunteers to the vicinity of the National Archives for a good view of the parade right across from the reviewing stand.
Step-off time is 2 p.m. and our unit is usually around the 80th to move out.
When we reach the dispersal area we are transported back to the parish hall to see a video and await the return of our guests who may call on a cell phone to be picked up at any time they wish.
Snacks are provided and when all are gathered farewells are said.
All in all it traditionally has been a great day — a mini reunion of sorts. Each year, though, there are drop-outs for health reasons or you-know-what. So, there is always room for YOU if you can make it.
Please contact Arnold Taylor, association chaplain, at 202-547-7962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to 507 Third Street SE, Washington DC 20003-1933. Early arrangements are crucial.
It ain’t green eggs and ham, but you might like it!