The City of Sarasota, in partnership with the Sarasota Patriotic Observance Committee, held their annual Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony on Saturday, November 11th. The parade featured various participants, including color guards from the Sarasota Police Department, Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, and Sarasota County Fire Department, as well as antique military vehicles, Jeeps, marching bands, and students from local high schools.
The parade route began at Osprey Avenue and moved westward along Main Street, culminating at Gulfstream Avenue. The festivities concluded with a ceremony at Chaplain J.D. Hamel Park, located at the corner of Gulfstream Avenue and Main Street. This ceremony held particular significance, as it commemorated the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the armistice was signed in 1918, ending World War I.
The theme of this year's parade was "We don't know them all, but we owe them all," highlighting the importance of honoring all veterans for their sacrifices. The ceremony featured guest speaker Carlos J. Moreira, a former U.S. Marine Corps member with 15 years of active duty experience. Moreira, currently serving as the director for campus engagement for Veteran Success and Alumni Affairs at the University of South Florida, also holds the chairmanship for SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society.
Master Sgt. Robert McDonald, retired lead singer for the U.S. Army Chorus, and the Sarasota Choral Artists, led by Dr. Joseph Holt, retired Director of the U.S. Army Chorus, performed a medley of patriotic songs during the ceremony. Their powerful renditions stirred emotions and paid tribute to the unwavering patriotism of our veterans.
The City of Sarasota's Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony were not only a celebration of our veterans but also a demonstration of the community's gratitude and support. It was a day filled with heartfelt tributes, camaraderie, and a collective acknowledgment of the sacrifices made by those who have served our nation.
Sources: City of Sarasota, The Observer, Sarasota Herald-Tribune.