2009 National Memorial Day Parade Press Release

2009 Parade Logo

Tim Holbert
(703) 302-1012 ext 220

Washington, DC, Monday, May 25, 2009 2:00 p.m. EST – The National Memorial Day Parade will take place on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Streets in Washington, DC. This will be the 6th annual parade since a Memorial Day parade in Washington.was reborn after the nation’s capital went nearly 70 years without a Memorial Day parade. Pre-parade entertainment will begin at 1:30 pm at 7th and Constitution.
This year’s parade will feature:
· Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen as reviewing officer.
· Actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna as Honorary Marshals.
· Actor Ernest Borgnine will serve as the Grand Marshal of World War II.
· Country singer Lee Greenwood will perform “God Bless the USA” in the pre-parade program and will also sing in the parade.
· MLB Hall of Famer Bob Feller
· Captain Dick Couch (ret.), author and former Navy SEAL
· The legendary Tuskegee Airmen
· Lt. General Julius Becton
· American Widows Project
· Active Duty Military Personnel
· Be televised on the Pentagon Channel and News Channel 8
· Be the largest Memorial Day event in the world
· Over 250,000 spectators and over 3,000 participants

If you would like to read bios of the VIPs, click the following link.

Admiral Mullen was sworn in as the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on October 1, 2007. He serves as the principal military advisor to the president, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.

A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968.

He commanded three ships: the gasoline tanker USS Noxubee (AOG 56), the guided missile destroyer USS Goldsborough (DDG 20) and the guided missile cruiser USS Yorktown (CG 48).

As a flag officer, Mullen commanded Cruiser-Destroyer Group 2, the George Washington Battle Group and the U.S. 2nd Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic.

Ashore he has served in leadership positions at the Naval Academy, in the Navy’s Bureau of Personnel, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Navy Staff. He was the 32nd Vice Chief of Naval Operations from August 2003 to October 2004.

His last operational assignment was as commander, NATO Joint Force Command Naples/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe. Mullen is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School and earned a Master of Science degree in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Prior to becoming chairman, Mullen served as the 28th Chief of Naval Operations.


Winner of the Tony Award for his acclaimed performance in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Joe Mantegna currently stars as FBI Special Agent David Rossi in the CBS series “Criminal Minds.” He is also the co-author of the play “Bleacher Bums,” which was adapted for television and earned an Emmy Award. He received Emmy nominations for his role in “The Last Don,” and “The Rat Pack” in which he played Dean Martin. In addition to dozens of other film and TV credits, Mr. Mantegna can be heard in the recurring role of Fat Tony on “The Simpsons.”

In 2004, Mantegna was named chairperson for the National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This organization helps focus public attention on VA medical centers with the goal of increasing the number of VA volunteers. Also, for the last several years, he has served as co-host, along with Gary Sinise, of the National Memorial Day Concert, broadcast across the nation on PBS the evening prior to Memorial Day.


Currently starring as Det. “Mac” Taylor on CBS’s “CSI: New York,” Gary Sinise will forever be linked with the character of Lt. Dan in the Oscar-winning film “Forrest Gump,” which earned him nominations for an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Sinise has become one of the most popular supporters of our military men and women, due to his extensive charitable work on their behalf. Since 2003 he has traveled to Iraq three times and to Afghanistan, and is the co-founder of “Operation Iraqi Children” with author Laura Hillenbrand. His band, the Lt. Dan Band, has gone on two-dozen USO tours and played over 40 benefit concerts. He is also the spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Foundation. Mr. Sinise served as the Grand Marshal of the 2006 National Memorial Day Parade, and his support has been instrumental in building the parade into the great tradition it has become in such a short time.


Ernest Borgnine enlisted in the Navy at age18. He served in World War II before he was released from the service as a gunner’s mate 1st class ten years later in 1945. He became an honorary U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer in 2004.
Ernest Borgnine won an Oscar in 1956 for best actor in a leading role for his performance as Marty Piletti in Marty. Throughout his lengthy career, he has appeared in about two hundred movies or TV shows, ranging from a voice for episodes of Nickelodean’s SpongeBob SquarePants to a starring role as Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale in ABC’s McHale’s Navy, a popular sitcom that ran from 1962-1966.
He is the only actor to star in all four “Dirty Dozen” films. In this series based on the famous rogues of the 101st Airborne division during World War II, he starred as General Worden.


Few artists have ever written a song that has become more a part of America’s cultural landscape than Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” If he’d never written or recorded another hit, Greenwood would have secured his place in music history with that powerful inspiring ballad.
“God Bless the USA” has been voted the most recognizable patriotic song in America, taking the top honor over “God Bless America” and the “National Anthem,” but it is only one of the many hits that have propelled Greenwood’s successful career. Along the way, he has won numerous accolades including two Male Vocalist of the Year awards from the Country Music Association and the CMA Song of the Year honor in 1985 for “God Bless the USA.” He has won the Top Male Vocal Performance in 1983 for “I.O.U.” His lengthy string of hits includes such classics as “Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands,” “It Turns Me Inside Out,” “Somebody’s Gonna Love You,” “I Don’t Mind the Thorns (If You’re the Rose)” and “Dixie Road.”
Lee met a young Nashville girl who was in college at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. She was also Miss Tennessee USA 1989. On Lee’s USO/DOD tour that year they fell in love and were married in Nashville in 1992.
Greenwood continues to be in constant demand, particularly after the terrorist attacks of September 11 when the nation once again embraced “God Bless the USA” as part of the healing process.
Greenwood admits when he first wrote the song, he had no idea how much it would impact people. “One of the reasons I wrote the lyric ‘I’m proud to be an American,’ is I really wanted to instill the pride back in America. The song represents my family, my community and all the Americans who are proud of who they are.”
Greenwood is currently working on a new country album. Competitive and driven as an entertainer, he is a loving family man and a savvy businessman who has learned to effectively balance all facets of his life.

Bob Feller was a star pitcher for the Cleveland Indians during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Feller immediately enlisted in the United States Navy, where he was assigned to command a 24-man gunnery squad on the battleship Alabama. He was the first Major League Baseball player to enlist in World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After a year of service in the North Atlantic, Feller and the Alabama were sent to the Pacific, where he participated in eight invasions including Iwo Jima. Feller was discharged in August of 1945, after almost four years of service. He returned to baseball and resumed a career that led to his induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

A 1967 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Dick Couch served with the Navy Underwater Demolition and SEAL Teams. He led one of the only successful POW rescue operations of the Vietnam War, while a platoon leader with SEAL Team One in 1970.
On release from active duty in 1972, he joined the Central Intelligence Agency, where he served as a Maritime Operations Officer, from 1972–1976. He retired from the Naval Reserve in 1997 with the rank of captain.
Couch began his writing career in 1990 and has published six novels: SEAL Team One, Pressure Point, Silent Descent, Rising Wind, The Mercenary Option, and Covert Action.
His non-fiction works include: The Warrior Elite, The U.S. Armed Forces Nuclear, Chemical, Biological Survival Manual, The Finishing School: Earning the Navy SEAL Trident, Down Range: Navy SEAL Operations in the War on Terror, and Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior.
His work has been featured nationwide, in leading outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Christian Science Monitor, Variety magazine, Booklist, Kirkus, and Library Journal.
Couch served as an analyst for FOX TV, MSNBC TV, and ABC radio during combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has also been featured on National Public Radio, “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, and the “NBC Nightly News” with Brian Williams.
He lectures at the Air Force Academy, the Naval Special Warfare Center, the JFK Special Forces Center and School, the FBI Academy, the Naval Postgraduate School, The Joint Special Operations University and The Academy Leadership Forum on issues of character development, the Warrior Ethic, and counterinsurgency.
Couch is currently an adjunct professor of ethics at the Naval Academy.
He resides in Ketchum, Idaho, and Annapolis, MD.

Explore posts in the same categories: American Veterans Center, Current events, Memorial Day Parade, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Vietnam, WWII

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