News: 100th band marches in first Fourth of July parade
GATLINBURG, Tenn. - At midnight here on July 3, the 100th Army Reserve band from Fort Knox, Ky., stepped off the starting line together with "Sparky the Firedog," clog dancers, fire twirlers, bagpipers, Masonic Temple Shriners, the "General Lee" and Grand Marshal Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke, from TV's "The Dukes of Hazzard)," to start our nation's first Fourth of July parade of the year.
Gatlinburg's claim to fame is that for the last 17 years it has been the first city in the United States to hold a Fourth of July parade, but this is not the first time that the 100th Army Reserve band has been invited to march in it.
Although this is the first time he personally has marched in this parade, according to the band's non-commissioned officer in charge of training, Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Moss, the band has done this before, but it's been awhile.
"Back in the late '80s and early '90s the band marched in this parade for like six years in a row, so they really used to do this a lot and then we didn't get requested for a long time and this year they've requested us again, so we're really happy about that," said Moss.
The 90-minute, two-and-a-half mile parade featured nine military themed groups which was led by an Air Force color guard. The parade snaked through downtown Gatlinburg and although it started at such a late hour, there wasn't even the slightest shortage of patriotic floats, flags, banners and people of all ages, from all over the United States who came to help celebrate our nation's 235th birthday.
Five-year-old Gracie Martin, from Cleveland, Ohio, exclaimed "This is the best parade, EVER!"
Whittier, N.C., natives David and Misty Freeman have been attending Gatlinburg's parade for the last four consecutive years, but this was the first time they had ever heard the 100th Army Reserve Band. Both were impressed with the band's performance, but Misty had one regret.
"It was really good, it was just too short. We wanted to hear more," said Misty.
"I loved it! I'm a patriotic guy and every time I hear patriotic music I well up and get cold chills inside," said David.
Misty echoed her husband's sentiments by stating, "I love our veterans. I'm a nurse and I love taking care of them just whenever I can and whenever we see them, I always try to shake their hand - and another thing that was what was good too - whenever they were marching along and could come close to us they would reach out to the kids and shake their hand or give them a hug and that just made me tear up and be proud to be an American and to see our military caring so much."
Moss, an euphoniumist (baritone tuba) in the 100th, said the thing that excited him most about the parade was the crowd's reaction.
"When we march by you see it and hear it in the people, they'll start shouting 'We love you! Thank you!' and all that type of stuff, and what better for an Army band to do, than to be that group that's doing that?," said Moss.
The 100th Army Reserve band seems to have impressed a lot of people, here in Gatlinburg, and has made the most of their visit by not only performing in the midnight parade but four of their military performance teams held free concerts on July 3 and the entire band will hold another free concert July 4, at 8:30 p.m., in Gatlinburg's city amphitheater.
Date Posted:07.04.2011 16:37
Location:GATLINBURG, TN, US
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