Atlanta’s 29th annual Veterans Day Parade, held this coming Saturday, November 13th, 2010, offers Atlanta area residents the wonderful opportunity to thank and celebrate all Georgia veterans. Since its inception as “Armistice Day” by Wilson in 1919 and its subsequent legislative adoption in 1921, Veterans Day has presented a special meaning for towns, small and large, all over America.
This year’s Atlanta celebration, spearheaded by organizations such as Glock Inc., the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Georgia Veterans Day Parade Association, promises to be a special one as Atlanta welcomes retired Marine, special guest and Grand Marshall, R. Lee Ermey.
As a Marine, Ronald Lee Ermey served as a stoic and sometimes purposely intense and intimidating drill instructor at both Marine recruit depots in San Diego and Paris Island in the late 60s. Due to injuries incurred during the thrall of his military career and Vietnam tour, Ermey was medically discharged after 11 years of decorated and dedicated military service.
Ermey, affectionately known as, and given the honorary rank of “Gunny”, although at the time of his medical retirement he retained the rank of Staff Sergeant, is a current feature character in a popular Geico commercial as well as the spokesperson for many companies including Glock, Inc., Coors Light and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Although known for his popular History Channel show, Mail Call, which answers viewer’s questions relating to military curiosities, Ermey is perhaps best known and more recognized for playing the memorable character in Stanley Kubrick’s military masterpiece, “Full Metal Jacket” in 1987.
First hired by Kubrick as an advisor for the film, Ermey quickly moved from behind the scenes to in front of the lens by capturing the hard-nosed detail and brutal truth of what it takes to be a drill instructor charged with molding Marines in a time of war.
And his true-to-life support of our military members is even more evident. Having made several trips overseas in war arenas, Ermey is especially welcomed by excited troops from Afghanistan to Iraq where they are often treated to Ermey’s wry sense of humor and supportive praise.
This year’s Atlanta Veterans Day Parade will take place beginning at 11 AM along Peachtree Street and will end at Centennial Olympic Park. The finishing touch in this year’s parade will be the Veteran’s Day ball which begins at 6 PM and will also feature special guest R. Lee Ermey. This year’s ball will be held at the Grand Ballroom of the Omni Hotel located in the north tower of the CNN center. Tickets are 60 dollars per person.
Arrive early along Peachtree Street, carry your flags and observe the reasons for the day as originally expressed by President Wilson, "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day [Veterans Day] will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."
To all our Atlanta area veterans and to all veterans throughout Georgia and the United States, a grateful nation gives you her thanks.