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Moulton activities to honor veterans next week

Decatur Daily - 11/3/2017

Nov. 03--MOULTON -- Military veterans will be honored in Moulton on Nov. 9-11, including with a Veterans Day parade.

Next Thursday, Lawrence County High School will honor veterans with a ceremony in the school's gymnasium at 10 a.m.Shelia Childress, a teacher at Lawrence County High, said all veterans are welcome and urged them to arrive at least 15 minutes in advance. Childress said the school's JROTC members, band and cheerleaders will perform at the ceremony.

She said the American Legion Post 25 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Chapter 8362 will present flags representing each branch of military. She said three veterans will give talks, and a reception will follow the program.

"We're hoping to bring patriotism to our students and let them see what veterans have done for this country," Childress said. She said the school expects about 30 to 50 veterans to attend.

From 5 to 7 p.m.Nov. 10, a parade and short ceremony will be held along the downtown square, said Fred Gillespie, vice commander of American Legion Post 25. He said there is no entry fee for vehicles, but vehicles should be decorated in patriotic colors and themes.

"I've been a veteran living here 65 years and as far as I know, this is the first Veterans Day parade in Moulton," said Gillespie, a Korean War veteran. "I feel it's long overdue. ... I'm hearing a lot of excitement across the county about the parade. We are welcoming cars, trucks, wagons, tractors for the parade."

He said area fire departments, high school marching bands and law enforcement agencies also will participate. He said veteran Earl T. Smith, a Hatton High graduate, will give a talk about his service time. Gillespie said Smith was part of a crew that helped defuse two 3-megaton Mark 39 nuclear bombs that dropped during a B-52 crash near Goldsboro, North Carolina, on Jan. 24, 1961.

Gillespie said the parade lineup will begin about 3 p.m. at H.A. Alexander Park, just west of downtown.

On Nov. 11, American Legion Post 25 will treat World War II veterans and their caregivers to a luncheon at the Western Sirloin Steakhouse on Alabama 157 beginning at 11 a.m.

"We have 11 World War II veterans still living in Lawrence County," Gillespie said. He said eight are expected to attend. Two are physically unable to attend, and one plans to be out of town.

Army veteran Leon Hightower is expected to receive the Bronze Star award at the luncheon. All WWII soldiers who received combat infantry badges also were awarded Bronze Stars, Gillespie said. He said Hightower never received his for fighting in Germany in April 1945.

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mike.wetzel@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2442. Twitter @DD_Wetzel.

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(c)2017 The Decatur Daily (Decatur, Ala.)

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