Thousands flock to Dacula to attend one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the country

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Thousands of people in Gwinnett County observed Memorial Day Monday with a parade.

Dacula’s annual parade was the only one in the metro area and one of the largest in the country.

“Every time we come, it gets bigger and bigger, better and better,” paradegoer Aaron Williams said.

The crowd of more than 10,000 has grown since the tradition started in the mid-90s.

The largest and most solemn entry is one that sadly grows larger each year: The fallen heroes of Georgia. It is a placard for more than 300 service members who have lost their lives since 9/11.

The names on that placard include Janet George-Morris’ son who died in 2017 after serving in Afghanistan.

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“We’re here to honor him and his memory and others who have lost their loved ones in the fight for our freedom,” George-Morris said.

This year’s Grand Marshall was retired Col. Ben Penton who served in the Air Force during the Korean War, then for the Georgia National Guard -- over 41 years of service.

He knows who they’re here to remember.

“We’re just lucky. All I can say, we’re just lucky,” Penton said. “So many of them that never came back.”

“This is the result of their sacrifices they gave, in many cases their lives, and it’s a great country we live in,” said U.S. Navy Veteran Barry Puckett.

“Being able to celebrate those who sacrificed so much for us, and us being able to honor them and celebrate this country with so much that’s going on, us being able to come together,” Williams said.

Always a way to honor our current veterans, display patriotism and most importantly remember those lost — this was the 29th year for Dacula’s Memorial Day Parade.

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