GULFPORT -- Veterans from across the Gulf Coast will be honored Saturday during the 15th annual Gulf Coast Veterans Day parade. The parade starts at 11 a.m. in downtown Gulfport.
The parade will begin at U.S. 49 and 19th Street. It will continue south on U.S. 49 and then it will move east on Beach Boulevard (U.S. 90) until it reaches Jones Park.
Gulfport has been recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs as the regional site for the 2015 observance of Veterans Day.
"The city of Gulfport is honored to host the 1025 Veterans Day Parade," Gulfport spokesperson Chris Vignes said. "Our Gulf Coast is home to so many of our nation's heroes and this parade is one of the many opportunities we have to honor and salute them for their brave service to our country."
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More than 50 military, junior ROTC and civic units are scheduled to walk in the parade.
The grand marshal for the parade will be Maj. Gen. Augustus Leon Collins, adjunct general of the Mississippi National Guard. Collins is the first African American to reach the rank of general in the Mississippi National Guard. He was appointed to his current position by Gov. Phil Bryant in January 2012.
At the conclusion of the parade, Jones Park will host the Red White and Blue Festival, which will include live entertainment, arts and crafts and food vendors.
The first Gulf Coast Veterans parade was held in Gulfport in 2000. The grand marshal for the first parade was Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The parade has alternated between the cities of Gulfport and Biloxi since 2000. It is held on the Saturday closest to Veterans Day.