The man behind the scene who is putting this parade entry together is Anthem associate and Vietnam era Veteran, Michael J. Poulimas. Working together with his fellow members of the Veterans of Anthem, the group is excited to support the event. “This event is a wonderful way to honor and pay tribute to the sacrifices made by our veterans,” said Robert W. Hillman, president for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Although many of the details are still being worked out, Michael did give us an idea of how the “WWII Veterans Organized by the Veterans of Anthem” will lead the CarmelFest parade. The Grand Marshals parade unit will consist of approximately 20 classic cars with WWII vets riding in them. There will be flags & banners and photos of the men showing their “younger selves” in uniform. Michael expects to have 30 WWII veterans who served in the Army, Navy, Army Air Corps, Marines and Coast Guard.
According to Michael, “We don’t have all the names of the Grand Marshals yet, but we do know the group will include two brothers who served in WWII together - Jim and Bob McClure. The other veteran riding in the car with them will be their brother Dick McClure who served in Korean War. In fact Jim McClure will be celebrating his birthday with us as he turns 94 on July 4th. Other WWII veterans in the group include a B24 pilot, a man who was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked, a vet who played in General Patton’s band, a man who survived the D-Day invasion and two men who fought in the famed Battle of the Bulge.” This remarkable, diverse group has so many stories. We plan to spotlight each of them on CarmelFest Facebook site and in news stories.
The 4th of July CarmelFest Parade will begin with Carmel police vehicles, followed by the American Legion and VFW. A US garrison flag will lead the WWII Grand Marshal unit.
This 36 foot by 24 foot flag was donated by the Howard County Vietnam Veterans Organization. The flag will be held by 30 volunteers from the Howard County Vietnam Veterans Organization, Veterans of Anthem and Indiana Patriot Guard Riders.
As part of the presentation, the Navy Sea Cadets will carry American Period flags to include Betsy Ross, Civil War, 48 Star, 50 star and POW flags. The Veterans of Anthem banner will be carried by members of the group.
The Grand Marshal unit will be broken into 5 groups representing the branch of the military in which each WWII Grand Marshal served. Each group will be led by a WWII style jeep driven by a member of the Indiana Military Vehicle Preservation Association. Alongside the jeeps, military flags will be carried by a member of the WWII re-enactors group dressed in the uniform of the period.
Special thanks to the participating groups helping to make this parade entry possible which include Veterans of Anthem, Howard County Vietnam Veterans Organization, Indy Honor Flight, Indiana Patriot Guard Riders, 1st Church of Nazarene (Kokomo, IN), WWII Re-enactors Group, The Navy Sea Cadets and Indiana Military Vehicle Preservation Association. We also applaud Anthem for helping to stage the event and offering a hospitality area for the Grand Marshals and their families. An added “thanks” to Centier Bank on Carmel Drive for allowing us to use their building as a staging area & WWII welcome center prior to the parade.
The 4th of July Parade at CarmelFest is on Saturday-July 4th starting at 10:30 a.m. and ending at approximately 12:30 p.m. The parade starts at AAA Way and Carmel Drive (in Carmel), proceeds west to Range Line Road, turns north to Main Street, then east to Carmel High School.
More details on the parade (and a map of the route) can be found on our website at www.CarmelFest.net.