Legion parade grows this year

The Hollidaysburg American Legion will host its annual Memorial Day ceremony and parade on Monday.

Legion Commander Joseph Dodson said the event has grown a bit this year, with the addition of the Hollidaysburg Area Senior and Junior school bands.

“It’s going to be a little bit bigger than usual,” Dodson said.

The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on the bridge near the intersection of North Juniata and Allegheny streets. The parade will follow.

The event’s guest speaker, retired Warrant Officer 3 Cindy Dunkle, will discuss past and present conflicts in the context of

her 20 years of service, Dodson said.

“She’s the first woman to be the main speaker at this event,” he said. “Her husband [Samuel] was the main speaker last year, and he did a very good job.”

Dunkle was, as a sergeant, the first woman to complete the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Assessment and Selection Course, according to a biography put together by the Legion, and was an intelligence operative in the Army’s Special Missions Unit.

She now works as the Van Zandt VA Medical Center’s assistant chief of health administration.

Dodson said three local veterans will also be recognized at the event. All three are Blair County natives who were honorably discharged, he said.

Dodson declined to name the three people who will be awarded Monday, as he’s trying to keep it a surprise, he said.

He said it is important for people in the region to attend ceremonies like this to recognize the sacrifices veterans have made.

“I think they should come out and honor all our veterans, particularly those who have lost our lives,” Dodson said.

“If it wasn’t for our veterans, you or I wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing today.”