Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne, retired Lt. General Russel Honore and the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission will host the Louisiana Bicentennial Military Parade at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, in New Orleans.
Click here for the Louisiana Bicentennial site.
Preceding the parade will be a wreath laying ceremony and flyover featuring two Louisiana Air National Guard F-15s
at the Veterans Memorial Square in Jefferson Parish at 10 a.m. At 2 p.m. Dardenne will host a press conference to return the recovered WWII dog tag of Louisiana soldier John Mack to the Mack family (his story below). Following the parade will be a military enlistment ceremony at the National WWII museum
In 1912, a military parade was held to honor Louisiana's first 100 years of military history.
The Bicentennial Parade is designed to honor the past 200 years of Louisianans from all branches of the military, with more than 1,200 participants including veterans, active duty military and reserves. A highlight of the parade will be the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps from Washington, D.C. The Fife and Drum Corps, which performs in vintage Revolutionary War uniforms, is world-renowned and has played at every presidential inauguration since President John F. Kennedy's in 1961. But Dardenne says don't expect this to be a traditional New Orleans parade with throws, "This is not going to be a traditional Mardi Gras-type parade, but really a patriotic salute to the men and women who serve America."
Schedule of Events:
10 a.m. Wreath laying ceremony at Veterans Memorial Square, Metairie
Participants: Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne; John F. Young, Jefferson Parish president; At-Large Councilmen Elton Lagasse and Christopher Roberts; Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng; Councilmen Ricky J.Templet, Paul D Johnston, Mark D. Spears Jr. and E. Ben Zahnlll; Bicentennial Commission
2 p.m. Dog Tag Press Conference at the Cabildo
Lt. Governor Dardenne will present Louisiana WWII veteran John Mack's recovered dog tag to the Mack family. The dog tag will be carried in the military parade where it will ultimately be placed on display at the National WWII Museum.
Participants: Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne; Morris Mack (John Mack's nephew); Nick Mueller, President and CEO of the National WWII Museum and retired Lt. General Russel Honore.
3 p.m. Bicentennial Military Parade
Click here for the parade route.
4:15 p.m. Military Swearing in Ceremony at National WWII Museum (Time is approximate, exact time will depend on parade)
New military recruits will take the Oath of Enlistment to begin their military service.
NEWS RELEASE: DARDENNE RECEIVES WWII DOG TAG OF LOUISIANA SOLDIER IN NORMANDY
On Saturday, Oct. 20, while on an economic and cultural mission to France, Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne received the recently discovered WWII dog tag of an African American soldier from Louisiana. John Mack's dog tag was found in August by an amateur metal detector, Laurent Meslier, in Normandy. A ceremony took place at the Memorial De Caen Musee Normandie, a
sister museum of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, where Meslier presented Lt. Governor Dardenne with the tag to return to the Mack Family.
"It's truly an honor to receive this relic of world history in Normandy where many Louisianans played a pivotal role in WWII," Lt. Governor Dardenne said. "I look forward to returning the tag to the Mack family members who intend to donate it to the National WWII Museum which will display it for the world to see."
In August Meslier contacted CODOFIL to request assistance in finding the Mack family. Staff from the Office of the Lt. Governor heeded the call and made contact with the family in September, arranging for Lt. Governor Dardenne to receive the tag during the mission to France. Lt. Governor Dardenne's staff is working closely with the Mack family and the National
WWII Museum and will have a ceremony presenting the tag to a Mack family member who will then present it to the museum on Nov. 10, prior to the Bicentennial Military Parade in New Orleans.
John Mack was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942. He served in Normandy; Rhineland, Germany and central Europe. Before being drafted he worked as a farmhand in St. Mary Parish. While in the military he was trained as a truck driver and is believed to have been member of the Red Ball Express, an enormous truck convoy made up of mostly African Americans which carried half a million tons of supplies through France during WWII. Upon his return to Louisiana in 1946 he returned to agriculture as a truck driver.
Mack had nine children and died in 1975.
The Bicentennial Military Parade will roll through the French Quarter and the Warehouse District. A press conference atthe Cabildo featuring the dog tag ceremony will precede the parade. The dog tag will be carried to the National WWII Museum in the parade by a military veteran, where it will become part of a permanent exhibit.
Photo credit: Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos via Creative Commons with attribution.