By Robert Nathan
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS – The first-ever Harker Heights Memorial Day parade and ceremony will be conducted Monday; city officials are expecting the day to be an emotional one that will give families the opportunity to pay tribute to the sacrifices of veterans.
"It's for our fallen comrades and our past veterans," said John Footman, a parade chairman and member of Centex Chapter 1876 of the Mil-itary Order of the Purple Heart.
The ci-ty of Harker Heights and the Harker Heights Vet-erans Council, as well as local government and military officials, are sponsoring the parade and ceremony.
U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, and state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, R-Temple, are expected to be in the parade of floats, firetrucks and other vehicles beginning at 9 a.m., starting at the corner of Cheetah Trail and the U.S. Highway 190 access road. The parade is scheduled to proceed west on the access road and turn left on Helm's Way to Miller's Crossing, where it will continue around the Carl Levin Park boundaries.
Footman said members of several veterans organizations have been meeting with Mayor Ed Mullen to plan the event and hope to make the Memorial Day observance an annual event.
Carter will deliver the keynote address at the Memorial Day Service at 10 a.m. at the site of the veteran's monument, located between City Hall and the Recreation Center at 305 Miller's Crossing. The service will feature a wreath-laying to honor those who gave their lives for their country. Mullen, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, will also address the public.
Immediately following the ceremony, pony rides, train rides, inflatable jumpers will be available in Carl Levin Park, and the park's swimming pool will open.
The Memorial Day ceremony "provides an excellent opportunity for families to pay tribute to the service and sacrifices of our veterans," said Jerry Bark, director of parks and recreation. "I hope many of our families participate in the events that are scheduled for this day."
In case of rainy weather, the ceremony will be moved indoors at the recreation center gymnasium.
The city began planning the Memorial Day parade and ceremony several months ago. City Manager Steve Carpenter urged the council to make the event special and to consider planning other community events residents will look forward to every year.
"Once we make them special, we need to make the long-term commitment" to make the observance better each year, Carpenter said at the March 21 council workshop.
Contact Robert Nathan at email@example.com