Yes, it is time for a parade that pays tribute to those who were in our armed forces at some time in their lives.
It matters not whether they fought on the battlefields or provided support for those who did. We especially remember those who fell on the battlefield, never to rise. We have two special days during the year, one that remembers those who never returned and one that recognizes those who did.
The Atlantic City Salutes America's Armed Forces Parade started two years ago as a way to bring more people to Atlantic City and is a primer for the Atlantic City Air Show. It's a way to honor those who fought in World War II and in every battle up to those we are engaged in today.
It is most gratifying to hear those on the sidelines have come out to enjoy an outstanding parade to thank all of our Armed Forces, past and present. One hears the crowd shout "God bless you" and "thank you" as the veterans of yesteryear go by as well as those who honor this nation by being in today's armed forces.
Monday's parade will begin with a civilian aircraft doing several stunts over the beach. On the Boardwalk, the parade starts with motorcycles, led by Atlantic City Police escorts and several other motorcycle groups. The grand marshal will be the Riderless Horse that brings to mind all those who gave their lives for our nation. There will be 20 horses and riders that serve to remind us of the soldiers who fought for this land.
It also brings to mind the rodeo that will be in Atlantic City in October.
They will be followed by Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, Maj. Gen. William Matz, Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff and Brig. Gen. Carl Briscoe. Buzby and Briscoe are Atlantic City natives. The high-ranking officers will be followed by members of today's Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force and New Jersey National Guard.
The second segment of the parade has elected representatives of our nation, state, county and local communities. Then come the many veterans organizations from around New Jersey. Some will walk, some will be in rolling chairs and others will be on floats or in cars.
Let them know you appreciate what they have done.
The third and final segment will be entertainment, featuring a variety of professional bands, musical organizations, choral groups, beauty queens, a hydroplane, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, police officers from neighboring cities, the Firemen's Pipes and Drums, a string band, Drum and Bugle Corps, four high school bands, a sand sculpture and a variety of floats. And, for the first time, the parade will have a contingent of 40 to 60-New Jersey state troopers marching.
In all, the parade will include more than 120 units and will take at least an hour and half to pass wherever you are sitting or standing.
Please remember that you can bring chairs to the Boardwalk and sit on either side. Come out and enjoy a most memorable evening of paying homage to our Armed Forces and being entertained. Let them know you care for them. And please let the entertainment groups know how much you appreciate their participation in this wonderful parade.
Last week, this column reported on the Boardwalk Committee's top five priorities. Reading them over must have made you wonder where you've seen all of them before. The big question is, when will we start to see progress in these areas?
We've been told the new construction on the Boardwalk in the Inlet will begin in the fall. We have been told that Pacific Avenue will be milled and asphalted in the fall. Obviously, we will have a busy fall, and that is a good sign.
As to the cameras and speakers on the Boardwalk, there has been no definitive date set for them to be ordered, let alone put in place. When will the lights be put up from Roosevelt Place to Jackson Avenue? No specific date for that, yet. Code enforcement programs continue to linger. The demolition program seems to be on the slow boat to wherever. When will the study of the number of street lights in the city and who owns them be completed.? When will the street lights become brighter and those that are out have new bulbs put in them?
There are some signs that the relationship between elected and appointed officials and agencies from the city, county and state are getting better as some programs, such as the inlet's Boardwalk and its connection to Gardner's Basin, are showing progress. This needs to be done in other segments of the community as well.
Hopefully, we will one day see the six ward representatives brought into discussions that will make the community a better place than it is. They deserve to be involved in the future of Atlantic City.
Good things are happening
Three free summer concerts in one day brought close to 75,000 people to Atlantic City for a wonderful day at the beach. Jimmy Buffett set the pace with his warmth and friendly presentation of his songs. He had the crowd right where he wanted them.
The folks at Resorts, Mohegan Sun and the Margaritaville crew had an event that will long be remembered. It also proved when we continue to have such events, crowds come to enjoy themselves and have fun - and that they did.
Next in line, on Sunday, will be the powerboat races in the ocean that will create a lot of excitement. This will be followed by the Atlantic City Salutes America's Armed Forces Parade on Monday evening, at 6:30 p.m., going down the Boardwalk from New Jersey to Albany avenues.
This will be followed Tuesday with a rehearsal for the Atlantic City Air Show that will be presented Wednesday, running from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This will be a different type of show than we've ever had before and it will be most exciting. The fact is that the planes will be doing things that we have not seen them do. If the weather holds up, there is little doubt in my mind that it will bring a tremendous crowd to the beach, Boardwalk and in the varied hotels with oceanfront rooms.
All of this is just the beginning. There is much more planned for this coming summer, the likes of which we have not seen before in the history of Atlantic City. Come out and enjoy yourself, as there will be lots to do and see.
Pinky's Corner appears every Thursday in The Press. The Pinky's Corner radio show airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND 1400-AM. His TV show, "WMGM Presents Pinky," airs 7:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC TV40. E-mail Pinky at: firstname.lastname@example.org.