Memorial Day committee to revamp festivities

Active military pulls out due to sequestration
May. 08, 2013 @ 03:01 PM

The N.C. Memorial Day Committee will have to revamp the celebration in Thomasville on May 27.

The reason is the sequestration.

According to the CNBC website, the sequestration has forced the cancellation of many events honoring our military — including air shows across the country, even Washington, D.C., and Fleet Week in New York City.

"We're trying to find ways to honor veterans without the assistance of the active military," said Joe Leonard, who has chaired the event for years.

It is unlikely that  the All-American Parachute team, helicopters and any other military-owned equipment will be at the festivities.

The Washington D.C. parade faces the same issues, but has obtained corporate and private donors — Wells Fargo, American Airlines, Costco Wholesale and Visit Myrtle Beach — to cover some of the costs.

According to the website for Federal Eye (a blog at http://www.washingtonpost.com), defense contractors have pulled out sponsorships.

"The parade has already been scaled back because of cuts to the budget of the Department of Defense, which is taking half of the $85 billion hit to the federal government this year under sequestration," it reads. "... Military vehicles and a flyover also are out of the question, since flyovers for nearly all military events are grounded," it reads.

What is confirmed about Thomasville's parade is that Major Gen. Colt, deputy commander of the 18th Airborne Corps, will serve as grand marshal. The parade, as in the past, will utilized privately owned vintage military vehicles.

Leonard also confirmed that the parade committee is expecting the attendance of 26 families who have lost loved ones.

Though disappointed, Leonard remains committed.

"We need to honor those who gave their lives," he said.

The Times will update the progress of the  parade committee.