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South Fulton observes Memorial Day
by Noreen Cochran
May 20, 2014 01:29 PM | 1232 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Tri-Cities area will honor the contributions of fallen soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines and coast guardsmen with a weekend of Memorial Day observations. More than 50,000 attendees are expected Saturday at the second Tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, featuring an appearance by flight crew member James “Alley Pat” Patrick, now 94.

Waymon Harley of event promoter South Fulton Community Organizers said Patrick will be the focus of a new feature.

“Chili’s, Ruby Tuesday and Johnny Carino’s are going to be doing meet-and-greets with the Tuskegee Airman,” Harley said about restaurants in the Camp Creek Marketplace in East Point, not far from a sign designating the main thoroughfare as Tuskegee Airmen Parkway. A series of two-hour windows in each eatery, starting at noon at TGI Fridays, should satisfy a hunger for knowledge about the all-African American 99th Fighter Squadron, Harley said.

“We hope so,” he said. “[Patrick] does have a story to tell. He’s a good guy to tell what’s happened in the past.”

The event will also shift its focus from the parking lots of the marketplace and its neighbor, Princeton Lake Shopping Center, Harley said. “We’re going to gear everything to the businesses,” he said. “The only things outdoors will be the parade and the children’s activities.” The parade will be led again by last year’s grand marshal, District 35 State Sen. Donzella James, D-Atlanta.

In the procession will be East Point City Council members, units from the East Point Police Department, horseback riders, Harley-Davidson motorcycle clubs and a Tri-Cities High School ROTC color guard.

“We’ll do a ribbon cutting at 9:45 a.m. to begin the ceremony,” Harley said. “The dignitaries will be there and the people in the parade.”

Dignitaries include Fulton County Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards, who will give the keynote speech, national anthem singer and former Clayton County Chairman Eldrin Bell and District 62 State Rep. LaDawn Blackett Jones, D-Atlanta.

While the event will be shorter – ending at 6 p.m. instead of with fireworks after dark, like last year – it will be full.

“We’re going to show ‘Red Tails’ at the [Carmike] ATL movie theatre for $7.50 per person. It starts about 1 p.m.,” Harley said about the Tuskegee Airmen biopic starring Cuba Gooding Jr. “Water skiing is pending. We’ll have cars on display from John Thornton Chevrolet from Douglasville. There will be a buggy jump and moonwalk for the kids.”

Hapeville also has plans to mark the occasion.

“The city will be holding a Memorial Day service on the 26th at 10 am at the Hoyt Smith Conference Center,” city clerk Jennifer Elkins said.

The service will be followed by refreshments provided by the Hapeville Historical Society and the Hapeville Service League.

In Fairburn, VFW Post 6449, under the command of Jack Robinson, will hold a commemoration.

Details were not available at press time, but previous ceremonies at the Fairburn Freight Depot on Broad Street included an honor guard, the national anthem, prayer, remarks, a parade and wreath-laying at Holly Hill Cemetery.

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