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November 09. 2012 12:15AM

Annual Veterans Day parade steps out Sunday


The grand marshal of the Manchester Veterans Day parade will be Francis B. "Sharkey" Madden (Courtesy)

MANCHESTER - The largest Veterans Day parade in the state takes place in downtown Manchester Sunday, when veteran groups, high school bands, scouts and even a radio station gather to march in a parade that celebrates veterans and commemorates their dedication to the country.

The parade is scheduled to step off the corner of Elm and Webster streets at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, and take about an hour to march down the city's main street. Police plan to close off the length of Elm Street starting about 10:15 a.m.

The parade is expected to stop at City Hall at 11 a.m. where the Armistice of 1918 will be noted and Taps will be played.

Speeches will follow at Veterans Memorial Park, where Gary P. Reid, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars post 8214, will address the crowd.

"If people love their country, they'll love this parade - it's a patriotic thing," said Gene Mackie, spokesman for the Manchester Veterans Council, which puts on the parade.

He said about 200 people are scheduled to participate, not including the three high school bands. Participants include American Legion and VFW posts in the city, Liberty House, Gold Star Mothers, Blue Star Mothers, the West High Navy Junior ROTC program participants, Veterans for Peace, scouting organizations, the American Red Cross, WZID and Citizens for Manchester Schools.

The grand marshal of the parade will be Francis B. "Sharkey" Madden, a Manchester native who enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Guam in the Pacific theater, during World War II. He came home and worked at the Manchester Highway Department for 45 years. He was a member of the American Legion Sweeney Post honor guard and firing squad for 30 years.

"We usually get a good turnout, regardless of the day," said Mackie. The weather forecast calls for sunny skies and temepratues in the mid-50s.

At the ceremony, the Veterans Council will give out the Tony Karam Award, which recognizes an individual or organization that fosters and contributes to veteran-related causes.

The speaker, Reid, enlisted as a Marine when he was 17. He was twice deployed to Vietnam, where he received the Purple Heart afer being wounded by a Viet Cong grenade. He has been the commander of VFW Post 8214 since 2010 and is a member of the American Legion Jutras Post and a life member of the Disabled American Veterans.

Other activities will take place aross the state on Veterans Day:

. A ceremony will take place 11 a.m. Sunday at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen.

. The Manchester VA Medical Center will host an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. The Fountain Square Ramblers Dixieland Jazz Band will play. The public is welcome.

. The First Assembly of God Church in Auburn will honor veterans at a 9:30 a.m. service Sunday.

. The Kingston Veterans Club will hold an open house beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday. A buffet supper will follow at 4 p.m.

. The New Hampshire Veterans Home will have a ceremony Tuesday at 11 a.m.



mhayward@unionleader.com


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