From Staff Reports
The National Memorial Day Parade will have a grand local flavor.
J.R. Martinez, a Dalton High School graduate who considers Dalton his hometown, is the grand marshal for the parade, which will be on Monday, May 27, at 2 p.m. in Washington, D.C.
“Being the grand marshal for this year’s ninth annual National Memorial Day Parade is a tremendous honor,” said Martinez, an Army veteran. “To be in the city where individuals have the power to create change for our vets is a great opportunity to continue to motivate them to continue to establish policies to help our vets on their road to service and those on the road to recovery. I'm hoping this day of remembrance and celebration reminds not only those in the D.C. area but everyone around the country of the sacrifices our service members and their families make every day of the year, not just on holidays.”
Martinez is a 2002 Dalton High School graduate, an injured Iraq War veteran, an actor, a motivational speaker and a past winner of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.” Martinez was born in Shreveport, La., and lived in Hope, Ark., before moving to Dalton the summer before his senior year of high school in 2001. He resided here a short time after graduation, and his mother still lives in Dalton.
The parade’s television broadcast will be nationally syndicated to more than 100 cities and 80 million households across the country, with live coverage on The Pentagon Channel and American Forces Network. It will also be streamed live online at the parade’s website at www.nationalmemorialdayparade.com.
The American Veterans Center, organizer of the 2013 National Memorial Day Parade, announced that this year’s parade will feature several honorary celebrity marshals helping to call attention to the service and sacrifice of our military men and women. Joining the parade for the first time will also be honorary grand marshal and Grammy-nominated country singer Trace Adkins, along with actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna. The parade will feature musical performances by “American Idol” winner and Paris Las Vegas headliner Taylor Hicks and Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan.
Additionally, the parade will feature honorary grand marshals U.S. Army veterans Robert Griffin Jr. and Jacqueline Griffin, along with their son, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, in a special salute to the sacrifices made by America’s military families.
“We are proud to have such tremendous support from both the military and the world of entertainment for this year’s parade,” said James C. Roberts, president of the American Veterans Center. “It is a testament to Americans’ desire to come together on days like Memorial Day and show support for our military and recognize those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our liberties.”
The parade was founded in 2005 and organized by the American Veterans Center, a nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of our military personnel.