On Monday, May 23, the Meridian Downtown Association is hosting a welcome home parade and celebration for the soldiers of Lauderdale County and surrounding areas who have served overseas since Sept. 11.
"It’s just an opportunity for the people of Lauderdale County to show our love and appreciation and support for the numbers of the military that have served overseas and that serve every day in the United States," said Michele Pearson of the Meridian Downtown Association.
The festivities will begin around 4:00 p.m. on May 23 as the annual "Ride for the Wall" motorcycle ride rolls into town. A wreath-laying ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the Lauderdale County Courthouse, followed by live entertainment at 5:00 p.m. at Dumont Plaza. The parade will pass by Dumont Plaza about an hour later around 6:00 p.m.
"It's going to be 200 or 300 motorcycle riders and they are all decked out in red, white and blue. It's really a sight to behold, and our Meridian Police Department is going to pick them up on the interstate and bring them down through 22nd Avenue," Pearson said.
To honor our troops, the Meridian Downtown Association has several special treats. Not one, but two confetti cannons will help parade watchers celebrate while live music fills the air. Naval Air Station Meridian's VT-9 will perform a flyover and fireworks will help end the night with a bang.
"We hope they will take that day off because it is for them. And we want them to know that we appreciate and support them, and we will continue to do that," said Maj. Gen. Webb Nix, retired from the Mississippi National Guard.