BETHALTO - After halting for COVID-19, the Bethalto Memorial Day Parade and the ceremonial program will march ahead Monday.

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The 61st annual parade and program remembering and honoring members of the Armed Forces step off at 10:15 from behind Village Hall. The parade proceeds east along Erwin Plegge Blvd and ends at Rose Lawn Memory Gardens where the ceremonial program begins at 11 a.m. More than 40 units, consisting of participants from local government, the military, local civic organizations, businesses, and residents, are expected in the parade.

"We have had great cooperation and participation from our local law enforcement and emergency responders," said event organizer Jeff Allsman. "We expect several emergency vehicles. And everyone enjoys the sights and sounds of the emergency vehicles. Except for maybe the horses that will precede them."

The program at the cemetery features special music, the Civic Memorial High School Band, a military ritual performed by the Bethalto American Legion Post #214, a ceremonial wreath-laying by the Illinois National Guard, a flyover and flower drop, and a new event added this year.

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"We wanted to try to personalize the ceremony," Allsman said. "Legion co-organizer Brenda Birdsell came up with the idea to encourage individuals to bring a carnation and lay it on a mound commemorating lost service members. It's something she did several years ago during a celebration in her hometown. We'll do it towards the end of the ceremony. We hope it enables people in attendance to make a personal connection."

The guest speaker for the event is Technical Sgt. Colleen E. Scott, Mortuary Affairs NCO, Springfield Illinois Air National Guard. Sgt. Scott currently serves as a traditional guardsman at 183 WG/ Force Support Squadron. In this role, she serves as an instructor for Search and Recovery and mortuary affairs training.

Sgt. Scott's full-time career is as a Developmental Network Engineer with Bylight IT Services, a Department of Defense contractor. Technical Sgt. Scott is married to Aron Scott. They have three children, Clayton (11), Rowan (8), and Waylon (2).

Technical Sgt. Scott began her military career in 2004. Upon completion of Basic Military Training and Services Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Tex., she was assigned to the 52nd Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem, Germany. She also served for eight months deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Kirkuk, Iraq. And almost eight years assigned to the 126th Air Refueling Wing, Scott Air Force Base, IL.

She received a bachelor's of Science in Workforce Education from SIU Carbondale in 2011 and a master's in Healthcare Administration from Lindenwood University in 2015.

Technical Sgt. Scott has received several awards and decorations including Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Ribbon-Long Tour, Air Force Longevity Service, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, USAF NCO PME Graduate Ribbon, Air Force Training Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal.

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