As the time of the Memorial Day parade approaches, our hearts are heavy due to the passing of our dear friend Miss Ola Hitt.

The photo on the front page of Saturday’s paper was one I had taken at the beginning of the parade several years ago. That was Miss Ola! She was a beautiful lady, the epitome of a true southern woman.

She was always ready for a parade and the opportunity to show her patriotism and devotion to the veterans she loved so much. She looked forward to the times we were riding down the streets of Aiken.

As people called to her, “Hey, Miss Ola,” she beamed. She often said to me, “Who are all these people?” But of course, everyone knew Miss Ola and wanted to show their love for her. Her remark after each parade was the same, “I believe that was the largest parade ever!”

Many years ago at a Daughters of the American Revolution meeting, I asked the chapter about participating in the parades. She eagerly said she would love to do it. So my husband graciously volunteered to drive her and others representing heritage organizations. We have been in Christmas and Memorial Day parades every since. He told me several years ago that as long as Miss Ola wanted to participate and was able, he would take her. I thank him for his faithful service to our heritage organizations.

The parade organizers have been so wonderful about arranging our car to be in the beginning of the parade to allow Miss Ola the opportunity to participate and yet return home early if needed. They always took her age into consideration. After all, how many people ride in a parade at the age of 100 plus?

We had already sent in our entry for this year’s parade. She was looking forward to it. Late last week, Richard Shreck, Memorial Day parade organizer, called offering his condolences. He stated he would make arrangements to have our entry fee returned. I told him no, we would be there, riding in the parade to honor Miss Ola. We will try to continue her legacy by honoring the veterans and her devotion to the city of Aiken.

Someone asked me once how I was able to get so much publicity in the paper. I told them it was not me, but Miss Ola the Aiken Standard loves. Thank you, Aiken Standard, for your assistance in the years past as we honored Miss Ola in various ways. She looked forward to having her picture in the paper. If I know Ola, she was very happy with the headlines for Saturday and the great photo.

Thank you, Aiken Standard.

Esther Cope