Originally created 03/15/03

Military families to walk in parade



SAVANNAH, Ga. - With the prospect of war just over the horizon, families of deployed military personnel are planning to walk in place of their loved ones Monday at the 179th Savannah St. Patrick's Day parade.

Parade officials and a military spokesman said about 500 spouses and children of troops deployed to the Middle East are expected to participate.

The group will walk behind a banner reading "United We Stand, spouses of deployed military at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield," said Steven Hart, the public affairs officer for the airfield.

"I think the families will carry just as much support (as the servicemen)," Mr. Hart said. "All of the families are tickled to death to come."

Seeking to limit the parade's size, the parade committee capped the group's unit at 500 walkers, though many more were interested in participating.

"I'm sure if they had not done that, we could have easily gotten thousands," Mr. Hart said. "This is immensely popular."

Though the parade's military presence will be thinner than in previous years, Mr. Hart said it will include Army color guard, the Army Ground Forces Band from Fort McPherson near Atlanta, an armored Humvee, and the military spouses unit.

Also expected to march are Marine Corps and Air Force reservists attached to the 3rd Infantry.