The 18th annual Memorial Day Parade isn’t until May 24, but it’s time to start thinking about it – especially for anyone who wants to submit an entry. The deadline for registration is May 9.

“That’s a firm date,” said Richard Schreck, commandant of the Marine Corps League’s James L. Hammonds Detachment No. 939 in Aiken.

The Hammons Detachment and the Aiken Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America are sponsoring the parade, which will start at 1 p.m. in downtown Aiken.

The fee per entry is $20.

“The purpose of Memorial Day and the parade is to remember the men and women in the military who gave up their lives in service to this country,” said the parade’s director, Joe Featherston. “What we tried to do last year was prioritize military organizations, and we will do that again this year. We will front-load the parade with military units because we want the people along the parade route to see them before they see all the other stuff.”

In the past, there have been more than 100 units in the parade.

The grand marshal for the parade’s 2014 edition will be William B. Dukes of Chapin. He is the founder, chairman and president of Honor Flight of South Carolina, which arranges free trips for World War II veterans living in the Palmetto State to Washington, D.C., so they can see the World War II Memorial. The itinerary for the excursion also includes the opportunity to see other war-related memorials and monuments and a visit to Arlington National Cemetery.

For more information about the Memorial Day Parade or to register an entry, call Schreck at 803-643-0675 or email him at Entries also are being accepted on the Hammons Detachment’s website,

Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C., she is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.