This year’s Crape Myrtle Festival/Fourth of July Parade will pay special tribute to America’s “greatest generation” with area World War II veterans serving as grand marshals.

This year’s parade will step off at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 4, on College Street in downtown Waxahachie.

“These men and women are our heroes and they have a very special place in our hearts,” said David Hudgins, who along with Perry Giles, serves on the parade committee. “This year we wanted to do something special to honor their many contributions and say ‘thank you’ for all they have done for us.”

Hudgins said the parade committee is in the process of obtaining vehicles and trailers for the special floats that will carry the veterans in a place of honor in this year’s parade.

“What we’re asking for now is for all of our World War II veterans to contact the (Waxahachie) Chamber of Commerce and let us know who they are so we can get an idea of how many vehicles we’re going to need,” Hudgins said. “We would absolutely love to have eight to 10 floats honoring these men and women — but we need to get a head count of how many would like to participate.

“We just want to make sure we have enough vehicles as well as plan for any special needs the veterans may have,” he added.

Any World War II veteran wanting to participate in this year’s parade is asked to contact the chamber at 972-937-2390 or mail a short note to the chamber office located at 102 YMCA Drive, Waxahachie, TX 75165.

Information needed in-cludes:

• Name of World War II veteran

• Branch of service

• Phone number so he or she may be contacted

“We wanted to make this year’s parade about them — to show this group of veterans how much we appreciate what they did for our country and for us,” Hudgins said. “It is our honor to honor them as this year’s parade grand marshals.”

Hudgins said if the veterans still have them, it would be great if they would wear their uniform or even part of their uniform.

“But it’s OK if they don’t,” he stressed. “What’s important is them being there. We don’t want to leave anyone out and we are making plans to assist those who have special needs. This is their day to stand in the spotlight and we just want them there. We’ll also have volunteers and Boy Scouts on all the floats to assist them along the parade route to Getzendaner Park.”

Giles, who along with Hudgins spearheaded the effort to create the Ellis County Veterans Memorial located at the Waxahachie Civic Center, said he is honored to pay tribute to the World War II veterans.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving to be grand marshals of the Fourth of July parade than these men and women,” Giles said.

For more information on this year’s Crape Myrtle Festival/Fourth of July Parade, contact the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce at 972-937-2390.

E-mail Neal at neal.white@wninews.com