(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent. C. Gray today said he is extremely honored and looking forward to serving as an Honorary Grand Marshal of the annual National Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 30. The Mayor will give remarks and welcome the tens of thousands of current and past members of the military and other spectators at a pre-parade lunch and ceremony at 7th and Constitution Avenue NW at 12:30 pm on Memorial Day. The 2 pm parade is sponsored by the American Veterans Center and will feature top military officials and television personalities like Pat Sajak, Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna.
District of Columbia special guests will include Major General Errol Schwartz, Commanding General of the D.C. National Guard; Matt Cary, Acting Director of the D.C. Office of Veterans Affairs; and Mrs. Effie Johnson, an 89-year old World War II Veteran who enlisted in the Army just a year after African American women were allowed into the military.
“Mrs. Johnson is a great example of the residents of the District of Columbia who have served with distinction in all branches of the military throughout our nation’s history,” Mayor Gray said. “We honor her, the men and women who sacrificed their lives and the hundreds of DC active duty and reserve members who are currently deployed. They are our hometown heroes, along with other military from across the United States.”
Mayor Gray said service persons from the District of Columbia are in combat overseas fighting for democracy, despite being denied full democracy at home. “In saluting these men and woman, and veterans who served and died before them, I am now more determined to achieve autonomy, full representation and independence from congressional oversight,” he said.