The annual Independence Day Parade, themed “An American Holiday,” will be held 6 p.m. July 4. The lineup, on Grand Street, is open this year, from spots 12-120. The first 11 spots are reserved for honor guard, grand marshal, VFW and corporate sponsors. The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce asks that you fill out a parade form to participate.
The route will follow from Franklin Street to MacArthur Avenue, to Fourth and continue to East Fourth Street hill, past the Dent County Courthouse. Over 30 entries have already signed up, according to the chamber.
Fireworks will follow at dark at Dent County Commons.
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Serving as Grand Marshal of the parade is George Flint, United States Army veteran. Flint’s name is synonymous with the American Legion Post 99. A 25-year member of the post, Flint has served in almost every capacity.
“I’d say I have held every office in some way for the past 20 years, except the chaplain, I think,” said Flint.
A Korean War veteran, Flint is originally from Illinois. He was married to wife Francis for 60 years before her passing a few years ago. When he moved to Salem 25 years ago, he immediately became a vital part of the American Legion.
His work and dedication never go unnoticed. The late J. Max Price and Flint united to bring the tank to display at the American Legion, where it still stands today. The effort took over two years.
A 2011 interview with Flint, by former staffer, the late Dwayne McClellan, detailed several of Flint’s projects and praises for other legion members.
Flint said he decided to join the Legion shortly after moving to Dent County from Illinois. He and his brother, the late Melvin Flint, were driving around one night and found the post to their liking.
After joining, he hadn't intended to get involved as much. But thanks to the late Ed Dudley, Flint said he became more and more involved.
"Ed and I were best friends, and he really encouraged me to get involved in a lot of projects," Flint said. "I have a passion in seeing that something needs to be done, doing it and seeing the Post and the community benefit," Flint said in the 2011 interview.
Flint still runs several programs for the legion, including the Boys State program, Monday bingo and funeral honor guard and flag programs. He's also involved in scholarship programs.
In addition to the programs, former commander Doyle Sanders said in 2011, "I can't imagine not having George, he's almost indispensable," Sanders said.
True to shying away from publicity, when asked about serving as grand marshal in the 2020 Independence Day parade, he said they may have twisted his arm a bit, “but it’ll be alright,” Flint said with a chuckle.