BETHALTO - The 100th Bethalto Military Homecoming Weekend is going to be extra special this year on Aug. 30 - Sept. 2.
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Tim Brown, Ereic Pernham and Sherri Benton-Reedy are coordinators. The opening ceremony of the event will be at Parkside School to start the weekend.
The American Traveling Tribute Wall (Vietnam Wall) will arrive Thursday, one day prior to the start of Labor Day activities. The Tribute Wall will be escorted on Thursday by several municipal agencies (police and fire) and include support from aviation assets and the Patriot Guard. The staging site will be at Parkside Elementary.
The wall is 400 feet x 200 feet and is an 80 percent replica. It will be open to the public 24 hours a day until Monday. A static display of military vehicles and associated equipment will be available from Friday through Monday of that weekend. A parade is set that Saturday, Aug. 31, at 10 a.m. Other highlights are Nashville recording star Dennis Bottoms with an appearance.
Brown said he is excited to have the event of this magnitude marking the 100th year because he is a combat veteran and not many events draw out veterans who have participated from the World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War eras all the way to present vets.
“The Honor March is limited to 500 people,” he said. “There are already some World War II and Korean War veterans signed up.” He encourages people to sign up as soon as possible and info for that is found on the group’s website.”
Other highlights are a Vietnam Wall Replica, a Deuce and a Half, a World War II Jeep Hum-Vee, The Mule M274, F4 Phantom Cockpit, a World War II cockpit, a Movie Night, USO Dance and much more.
Brown said the group is hoping to raise $13,550 and remains $2,500 short of that. He said if anyone wishes to donate they can send checks to the Village of Bethalto-100th Military Homecoming to Bethalto Village Hall, 213 N. Prairie St., Bethalto, IL., 62010.
The Saturday, Aug. 31, Military March will be a huge part of the affair honoring all active duty and veterans from all branches and ERA’s. The lineup includes the Great Rivers Fife and Drum Corp, American Legion, VFW, Gold Star Spouses, Junior ROTC, CAP, Color Guards, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, current GWOT Veterans, Air Force Band and Bugler For Taps. A flyover will be conducted by WW II Stearman Aircraft and T-6 Texan.
A recruitment drive will be held for all branches of the military, VFW, American Legion and Civil Air Patrol will be done. Additionally, organizations that provide assistance and support to veterans will showcase their services.
A fireworks display will be done by Fireworks Vendor Richard Cabot at Rosewood Cemetery on Saturday, Aug. 31. The Midwest Air Force Band will also play music on the day of the Military March on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Brown said he is excited to have the event of this magnitude marking the 100th year because he is a combat veteran and not many events draw out veterans who have participated from the World War II era all the way to present vets.
He encourages people to sign up for the Honor March or make any donations as soon as possible. The info for signup is found on the group’s website.
More info can be found at www.Bethalto.com or call Brown at (618) 447-9996.
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