CRESTVIEW — Area residents saluted those who have served our country during the Nov. 11 Veterans Day parade and ceremony on Main Street in Crestview.
They cheered, waved flags and clapped for veterans throughout the events, and individually thanked them. The 9 a.m. parade included veterans groups, students, businesses and residents.
The observance included a ceremony at the Okaloosa Veterans Memorial in front of the Okaloosa County Courthouse. The Rev. Darryl Hooks, of Mount Zion A.M.E. Church in Crestview, gave the program’s invocation. Crestview High School student Jaynie Darby sang the National Anthem, and Crestview Mayor David Cadle read a proclamation.
At one point in the ceremony, Senior Airman Sara Twomey of the 1st Special Operations Medical Group, recognized veterans of individual wars who were present, including World Wars I and II, Korean and Vietnam Wars, and those who had served in other conflicts.
The guest speaker, Rear Adm. Vincent Griffith of the Defense Logistics Agency, Logistics Operations, spoke on Veterans Day’s history.
"Ceremonies and observances like this one are being held all across the United States, and they trace their origins to the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918, when guns of World War II were silenced," Griffith said.
"Since the days of our independence, more than 50 million men and women have stepped forward to answer our nation's call," Griffith said, "and nearly 1.5 million have been wounded, and almost 1.2 million have lost their lives," Griffith said.
He said service members in all branches of the American military have the same dedication and drive displayed by those who previously served.
"Ladies and gentlemen, you can take pride in knowing that those dedicated service members represent you and all Americans with honor and distinction," Griffith said. He then thanked veterans and their families for their service and support to America.
The Veterans Day observance included laying wreaths in front of the memorial in honor of fallen military heroes. Members of AmVets Post 35 in Crestview, Vietnam Legacy Vets, the Knights of Columbus, the Wingmen, the Elks Lodge and American Legion Post 395 placed the wreaths and saluted afterward.
The ceremony ended with a 21-gun salute, the playing of "Taps" by Crestview High School student James Camp, and a prayer.