The festivities will start with a buzz at 10 a.m. with a flyover straight up Fayetteville Street by F-15E Strike Eagle jet aircraft from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. This flyover will signal the start of the parade that will feature:
- Personnel from the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, North Carolina National Guard and each service's reserve group;
- Military bands;
- Drill teams;
- Honor guards;
- Vehicles, including military armored personnel carriers, mobile missile launch systems, medical transport equipment and other tactical assets;
- The USO mobile unit;
- Floats featuring the members of military families; and,
- Marching bands from universities, colleges and high schools from throughout North Carolina (including Raleigh's Athens Drive and Broughton and a composite of approximately 200 student musicians from Wake County high schools).
The parade will head north from the intersection of Fayetteville and Davie streets to the Capitol, then north encircling the state government complex. The end of the parade marks the start of a day-long celebration of the "Salute." The activities include:
- 11:30 a.m. - static display area on Jones Street between Wilmington and Blount streets, of equipment used by the military, including weaponry, armored vehicles, marine rescue, climbing walls and other equipment;
- 11:30 a.m. - at least three NASCAR teams' show cars will be on display in the Halifax Mall area, along with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series show cars for 2008;
- 11:30 a.m. - military personnel and their families will be invited to enjoy rides, games, slides and an obstacle course;
- 11:30 a.m. - center stage will feature musical entertainment provided by the USO of North Carolina;
- 12:00 p.m. - military personnel and their families will be served lunch produced, prepared and presented by the Pork Council of North Carolina and served by volunteers;
- 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. - the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and the N.C. Museum of History are open to the public free of charge. Marbles Kids Museum will be open free of charge to military personnel and their families; and,
- 7:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. - the Carolina RailHawks will host the opening night of their soccer season as WakeMed "Military Appreciation Night" will provide tickets to military personnel and their families.
The "Salute to Our Troops" is being organized by the North Carolina Bankers Association. "We felt that it was not only appropriate but long overdue to show our thanks to the men, women and families of the U.S. military for all they do for our country," said Thad Woodard, the association's president and CEO. "Let's show our pride in what it means to be Americans as well as North Carolinas from the nation's most military friendly state."
Please don't miss this opportunity to show your appreciation and support of all the men, women and families of the military! Be sure to check out their website for more detailed information on parking and events: Salute the Troops NC
Always something happening in My Back Yard....