Ed Hall and family in 2009. Hall is the grand marshal of the 2023 Howard County Veterans Day parade. (Submitted photo)

An opportunity to honor local veterans, the Howard County Veterans Day Parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 12 in Columbia’s Merriweather District. A tradition since 2015, the parade’s grand marshal, Edward Hall, is one of the parade’s founders.

“What’s really important to me is seeing the growth in attendance over the years,” said Hall, who retired as a lieutenant colonel after 24 years of service with the U.S. Marine Corps. His career with the Marines included service as an infantry officer and rifle platoon leader, commanding officer of a naval security group, and head of electronic intelligence support and commercial mobile radio service operations for the Fleet Marine Force Atlantic Command.

“Regardless of the weather, regardless of the time, regardless of the day, our main effort is to get participants who come to the parade to remember and honor veterans,” said Hall. “Every year, it grows. Last year, it was phenomenal.”

The parade will honor all branches of the U.S. military, the National Guard, first responders and their families.

Hall encouraged young people to come to the parade to meet some of their local veterans. “The veterans you’ll see in this parade spent their time making this the land of the free and the home of the brave,” he said. “Now it’s up to some young pups to keep our country free.”

He recalls, growing up in Brooklyn, New York, his grandfather taking him to watch the Veteran’s Day parade. “He was an Italian immigrant and he fought in World War I to help get his citizenship,” said Hall. 

He vividly remembers meeting veterans at the parade who said, “Young man, somebody you’ll be one of us.”

“The day has arrived,” said Hall, who will be recognized at the parade and through a lakefront ceremony. Organizers bestow the grand marshal title on an individual who represents the values and morals of the Howard County community of veterans and military families.

Outside his military service, Hall is president and founder of TelecomXchange International, a test, evaluation and support firm. Previously, he spent seven years at the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association.

Hall is a lifetime member of the Marine Corps League, Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. He was a commander of the American Legion Post 156 in Ellicott City. He also serves as commander of the Joint Military Council in Howard County, paymaster for a detachment of the Marine Corps League and president emeritus of the Old Post Rifle and Pistol Club.

For details about the parade, including a map of the parade route: https://www.howardcountyveterans.org/parade/