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Myrtle Beach celebrates Memorial Day with veteran march, parade

Jack Platt discusses veterans march

Platt wrote a letter to The Sun News in 2015, and gained enough support to convince the city to let veterans March down Ocean Boulevard on Memorial Day.
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Platt wrote a letter to The Sun News in 2015, and gained enough support to convince the city to let veterans March down Ocean Boulevard on Memorial Day.

On Memorial Day, the city of Myrtle Beach honored veterans with a march down Ocean Boulevard followed by a remembrance ceremony at the convention center two hours later.

For the second year, the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association led the 9 a.m. veterans march.

“Not as big a crowd this year as last year, but people enjoyed seeing the veterans march,” said city of Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea. “Last year it was kind of an impromptu event. We had a couple of World War II veterans who objected to not having an activity on Ocean Boulevard on Memorial Day Monday, and the combat veterans motorcycle association picked up that ball and ran with it.”

I don’t care about anybody else, but I’m going to be walking down Ocean Boulevard on May 30

Jack Platt

Last year, World War II veteran Jack Platt, whose father and brother were also veterans, wrote a letter to The Sun News expressing his frustration with the city.

“I said in the letter, ‘I don’t care about anybody else, but I’m going to be walking down Ocean Boulevard on May 30th and if they arrest me, they can, because that’s when Memorial Day was,’” he said.

Platt said the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association supported his effort.

“The city of Myrtle Beach relented and allowed us to march,” he said.

I walked this year, and Lord willing, if I can walk next year, I will.

Jack Platt

The association’s secretary, Julius “Jewels” Strickland, said Platt’s letter motivated him to organize the event.

“We worked with the city of Myrtle Beach and got everything set up to have a veterans march,” he said. “This will be the second year for it.”

Strickland plans on holding the event every year, and Platt plans to participate as long as he’s able.

“I walked this year, and Lord willing, if I can walk next year, I will,” he said. “If I can’t, I’ll ride, but I’ll be here.”

Remembrance Ceremony

By 11 a.m., Platt had made his way to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for the Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony, an annual gathering held by the city and the Grand Strand Patriotic Alliance.

For Platt, Memorial Day has a personal meaning.

It represents my memory of my father, and all of the veterans, but especially my father who was in World War I, and my brother who was in World War II along with me,” Platt said. “He was at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, and he survived. But then in the battle of Midway he was shot down. All of my memories, especially of my family, are very special.”

Grand Strand Patriotic Alliance Chairperson Derston Koontz said the ceremony was to promote the respect and remembrance of veterans.

A lot of people just turned their back on those veterans.

Derston Koontz

Koontz, who served in Vietnam, said the ceremony was put on in partnership with the city of Myrtle Beach.

“They do a great job of giving us a lot of help to have this ceremony and we want to make sure no one is ever forgotten like a lot of veterans were,” he said. “World War II was a wonderful situation, but thereafter, a lot of people just turned their back on those veterans.”

But for Koontz, Memorial Day isn’t just for veterans.

Not about a bikefest.

Mayor John Rhodes

“It means a day to remember everybody who has passed,” he said. “Relatives, mothers, fathers, brothers, cousins, the whole works as far as family.”

Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes said Memorial Day is a day to honor the sacrifice veterans have made for the country’s freedom.

“Not about a bikefest,” he said. “Not about anything like that. But about veterans that we’ve lost in combat.”

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