- The Washington Times - Friday, November 22, 2002

Montgomery County's annual parade tomorrow in downtown Silver Spring is a special tribute to area law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation of October's sniper attacks and the apprehension of suspects.
"The purpose is to allow the public throughout the region to say 'thank you' almost in a face-to-face personal way to the men and women of law enforcement for the job that they did during those three weeks in October," said Bonnie Ayers, a Montgomery County spokeswoman. "It's a real salute and a public 'thank you' from the community."
Four prominent leaders will be honorary grand marshals of the mile-long "Thanksgiving Parade: A Salute to Law Enforcement": Charles A. Moose, Montgomery County police chief; Douglas M. Duncan, Montgomery County executive; Gary Bald, head of the FBI's Baltimore field office; and Michael Bouchard, head of the Baltimore field office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
"I am certainly surprised and honored," Mr. Bouchard said. "In fact, it was a very big surprise that the community would think to do that much for us and ask us to attend."
The Montgomery County holiday parade usually occurs the first Saturday in December. County organizers changed the date of the parade because they believe having it before Thanksgiving is the appropriate time to provide this opportunity for the community, Ms. Ayers said. The change will be permanent.
Beginning at 8:30 a.m., there will be an interfaith memorial service at St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church at 824 Pershing Drive in Silver Spring, where representatives of various faiths will preside over the service open to officials, victims' family members, law enforcement representatives and the general public.
The parade, sponsored by Montgomery County, is slated to begin at about 10 a.m. and is expected to attract about 20,000 spectators, Ms. Ayers said. It will include up to 100 units, floats, high school marching bands, antique-car clubs, ethnic and cultural groups and beauty queens.
"It's a real cross-section of the community," she said. "And it's a chance for the community to come out."
The parade also is meant to honor Mr. Duncan for demonstrating poise and "keeping everyone calmed down" during the sniper attacks, Ms. Ayers said.


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