Help sought for July parade

Published 5:15 am Friday, June 16, 2017

The Fourth of July in Bogalusa is not only the day all of America celebrates this country, it’s the city’s birthday as well.

So the festivities will start with a parade at 10 a.m., including free hot dogs at the American Legion home after the parade. There is also some talk of a possible event in Cassidy Park, and the day doesn’t wrap up in Bogalusa until the final rumbling fireworks at the high school stadium.

Bogalusa’s Fourth of July parade is sponsored each year by American Legion Magic City Post 24. Parade chairman Bobby Latino said the parade co-marshals this year will be the 20 local veterans featured in a book of stories compiled by Patricia Newman, who will ride in the parade. Those stories were published as the book titled, “Warriors’ Own Words: ‘You Had To Be There.’” That is also the theme of the parade this year —“You Had To Be There.”

“These are war heroes from our own parish that served our country bravely, making many sacrifices to help our country keep our freedom from the evil of other enemies and countries,” Latino said. “We will have World War II veterans, Korean veterans, Vietnam veterans, and Desert Storm veterans, as well as Iraqi freedom fighters. These veterans will be our parade marshals. They will be riding on our American Legion float.

“People don’t even know they are here, because they won’t talk about it. But people need to know that there a lot of heroes right here in Washington Parish. The V.A. has help for people with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. And I can think of no better way to honor these brave veterans than for our community to show its support by helping give them a big, ‘Thank you, and we appreciate what you did for your country.’”

Latino said he’s working with the U.S. Coast Guard out of New Orleans to arrange a flyover and a salute of the veterans’ American Legion float, and he’s working “to get an LSU or Saints player or coach, and maybe Brett Favre, in the parade.”

He also said the parade color guard would be from the Bogalusa High School Jr. ROTC, and that “tractor clubs,” several churches, the police and fire departments and emergency medical service, and other organizations — such as the Civic League — are already signed up to participate.

“We want to make it bigger and better, with decorated golf carts and a lot of bicycles,” he said.

Latino added that the Legion could use some help furnishing Washington Parish veterans with candy and other throws for the parade. Anyone who would like to provide assistance can reach him at 985-516-0055.