The town of Malta plans to pay tribute to veterans of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with a rescheduled annual parade to be held on Route 9 on Saturday, May 18.
The town has been holding an annual military honor parade since 2009, but it has always been held in September, to keep it close to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
This year, the parade date has been shifted to bring it closer to the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, which took place in March 2003. "There has been no regional parade to mark the service and sacrifice of this new generation of veterans," town officials said in a parade announcement.
The Malta Veterans Committee is seeking the involvement of the groups that have previously contributed to the Malta Military, Veterans and First Responder Appreciation Day when it was held in September.
“The Iraq War is over, we still have troops serving in Afghanistan more than 11 years later and there is a need in this region for a community-wide tribute to men and women who have served and given much on our behalf,” said Paul Fanning, Veterans Committee chairman. “With the support of the Town Board we have proposed a new effort and are shifting our emphasis and asking for wide support."
The committee is seeking new volunteers to assist with a variety of parade-related tasks. Invitations are meanwhile being sent out to area military groups, especially those that have served in Iraq since 2003.
In addition, the committee is inviting Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to join in an ad-hoc parade formation from various service branches — including currently serving and former service members — for one joint march element.
Individuals and groups interested in getting involved or seeking more information can contact Fanning by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message for the Veterans Committee with town Director of Parks & Recreation Director Audrey Ball at 899-4411.