Jarrett Glover kept his message brief as he signed a large banner to be presented Wednesday to the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade.
“God Bless All of Y’all,” Glover wrote on the banner attached to one of NewTown Macon’s trolleys in front of Macon City Hall before he stepped aside so Macon Mayor Robert Reichert could write his own message.
“I think we’re living on their gift,” Glover said. “I wanted to make sure I could show my appreciation. ... This is the least I can do.”
Middle Georgians will have the opportunity to show their appreciation to the 48th Brigade several times this week, thanks to a series of parades across the midstate beginning today in Dublin, followed by a Wednesday parade in Macon and one in Forsyth on Thursday.
The 48th and its support battalions are being shipped in stages to Afghanistan, said Col. Lee Durham, the brigade’s commanding officer. Unlike the times the 48th was shipped to Iraq for combat operations, this time the mission will focus on training Afghan police and soldiers to protect their borders from terrorists.
“This mission, we’re an advisory brigade,” Durham said. “We’re going to be assisting the Afghan National Army and police to secure their borders and take the fight to the enemy.”
Today’s parade will honor Company A of the 148th Brigade Support Battalion. Beginning at 10:45 this morning, 87 soldiers will march from Duncan Tire Co. on West Jackson Street in Dublin to the Market on Madison for a 15-minute send-off ceremony that will include remarks from Brig. Gen. Maria L. Britt, Lt. Col. Perry A. Carter, Capt. Thomas Newton and Dublin Mayor Phil Best. Wednesday’s parade in Macon, which starts at 3:30 p.m., will focus on the entire 48th Brigade, with Gov. Sonny Perdue taking part in the ceremony in front of City Hall.
Perdue, Reichert, Britt, Durham and Brig. Gen. Lawrence Dudney are among the scheduled speakers at the 4 p.m. ceremony. Members of the brigade will march from Cherry Street to City Hall accompanied by the Central High School marching band.
Thursday’s event in Forsyth will include a 10:45 a.m. parade of the 148th Battalion Companies B and C, which will march from the depot to the courthouse square. Then a ceremony in front of the courthouse will include speeches from Britt, state Rep. Jim Cole, R-Forsyth, Forsyth Mayor Ty Howard and Monroe County Commission Chairman James Vaughn. Durham said the parades, which have been held all around Georgia, are a great morale booster for the 2,500 members of the 48th who began deployment in March to Afghanistan. The 148th’s companies are scheduled to ship out this week. By June, nearly all of the brigade will be deployed, Durham said.
“Our foundation is families, the community and our state,” he said. “We really appreciate this.”
Durham said it’s important for communities to remember the families of troops once the soldiers deploy. “If you know someone who (has a family member deployed), that’s when you can help out,” he said. “We’ve got families here. Just reach out and give them a big hug.”