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The Grand Marshal of this year’s July 4th festival is no stranger to headlining the parade. Nor is the importance of the day lost on him.
Bill Lane, who has marched at the head of a number of Indian Trail parades as a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2423 Honor Guard, has been honored by the Town of Indian Trail and the Indian Trail Lions Club as this year’s Grand Marshal. And though he wears the honor with pride, he’s first to acknowledge that the title is about a lot more than just him.
“I’m not used to being in the limelight,” Lane said about his upcoming role in the parade. “I rather let the Honor Guard take all the credit, and I’ll sit back. Because it’s not about me – it’s about what we do as a group. Me going out there as grand marshal… that means I’m representing the whole VFW and the whole Honor Guard.”
The VFW Post 2423 Honor Guard is one of the most active groups in the region – dedicating their time to providing Military Honors at more than 120 funerals a year in the Charlotte region. They also travel to the Salisbury VA Hospital to participate in funerals for homeless veterans who are laid to rest in the Salisbury National Cemetery.
But parade patrons may recognize Lane from one of his and the Honor Guard’s other efforts. The group speaks at schools across the county and with area Boy and Girl Scouts, engaging them in essay contests and teaching them history through their service. Lane served in the Vietnam War, following the footsteps of his family members who had dedicated their lives to defending their country.
“Watching these children’s faces when they see people who were in actual combat, and they hear us teaching about what we did and how to fold their flag... We teach them what the flag is for, what it stands for,” Lane said. “It’s very rewarding to see them fold the flag for the very first time.”
Though Lane first responded with “Why me??” when told he’d serve as grand marshal at this year’s parade, his selection for the honor was an obvious choice. Few people represent the values that epitomize Independence Day better than he.
“We’d make Bill Lane the Grand Marshal every year if we could, because he and the Honor Guard deserve it,” Indian Trail Program Coordinator Susan Didier said. “The Honor Guard is such an important part of Indian Trail – from their involvement in our events to their dedication to our county’s youth and their service to their fellow veterans. We are honored to have Bill lead this year’s festival.”
The event will begin Tuesday, July 4, around 9:30 a.m. with some "good ol’ fashioned fun and games," water slides, live music and sack races at the Indian Trail Cultural Arts Center, 100 Navajo Trail. That also will include the famous July 4th Watermelon Eating Contest, sponsored by Randy Simpson’s Produce Farm. Contest applications are available online at www.itsparksandrec.com or by calling 704-821-8114.
The parade, with a float contest sponsored by Heritage Funeral Home, will start at 11:30 a.m. on Indian Trail Road and run between Post Office Drive and the Food Lion shopping center.
The Town also has named two Mayors for the Day for the July 4th parade. Learn more about them HERE.