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It’s the time of year when Americans say thank you to those who signed up to serve their country.

Veterans Day is Monday, and groups around the area will be providing opportunities to thank the troops with pomp and pride.

One of Cobb County’s largest celebrations is Marietta’s annual Veterans Day parade. Starting at Roswell Street Baptist Church at 11 a.m., troops, musicians and floats will go down Roswell Street and loop around Marietta Square.

Each year, hundreds of neighbors dress in red, white and blue and line up on the parade route to watch the festivities. This year there will be plenty to see, according to Parade and Ceremony Director Chris Brown with the Kiwanis Club of Marietta, which is organizing the parade in conjunction with the city.

“We’ve got 38 participants, we’ve got a number of JROTC programs from different high schools, we’ve got five different high school bands, it will be led off by Marietta High School this year, which they always do, that’s tradition,” Brown said. “Then we’ve got a variety of different military vehicles, motorcycles, police and fire vehicles, dogs, horses, and various other veteran-related participants. Everything in the parade is about honoring our vets.”

This will be the 15th year of Marietta’s Veterans Day Parade. Brown said it has become a tradition for the city and a great way for residents to honor those who have served.

“That’s the goal, that’s what we’re doing this for,” he said. “We do this parade to show honor to our vets and to thank them for their service and for their sacrifice, so this is not about Kiwanis, this is not about us, this is not something where we advertise and fundraise, this is purely about honoring our veterans.”

This year’s grand marshal will be retired Capt. Charles E. Polk III, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, who will also be the keynote speaker at a ceremony in Glover Park following the parade.

Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin said he enjoys listening to the bands and seeing the military vehicles every year, but his favorite part comes when he’s on the stage watching the crowd during the ceremony.

“When we’re up on the podium and the officers are giving their speech, you see a lot of the veterans that served years ago,” he said. “And these are guys you see at church, they’re regular guys, and you think about what they were like 30 years ago, or 50. Those are the guys you live down the street from. … It makes you realize there are a lot of people that have served our country, and it’s good to recognize them.”

Marietta’s Veterans Day Parade begins Monday at 11 a.m. at Roswell Street Baptist Church, and the parade is expected to be on Marietta Square at 11:11 a.m. Afterward, all are invited to Glover Park for the annual Veterans Day ceremony featuring Capt. Polk, scheduled to begin at noon.

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