Don't miss an opportunity to observe and honor our veterans - the people that have made us the Land of the Free.
Communities across Northwest Florida will be marking Veterans Day in the coming days. Events include dramatic presentations, parades and an assortment of festivals and other observances.
Here is a list of some of the ways the holiday will be observed locally. This list may not include every local Veterans Day observance, and note also that some events are scheduled on days other than the holiday.
Downtown: The annual Veterans Day parade, scheduled from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, is staged in the downtown area on Main Street. Organizations, civic clubs, Boy and Girl Scouts, school children, parents and especially veterans are special dignitaries. The parade ends at the Veterans Memorial located near the Okaloosa County Courthouse.
Legendary Marine/Marina: The Emerald Coast Honor Games — a full day of competition, honor, community, fun and food benefiting veterans — will begin with the “Ruck 22” event at 5:30 a.m. Saturday. To sign up and to see more about the day-long schedule of events, visit www.emeraldcoasthonorgames.com. The event will be held at 4601 Legendary Marina Drive and at Destin Middle School.
FORT WALTON BEACH
Beal Memorial Cemetery: The Veterans Day Ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, rain or shine. The observance will begin with the ringing of the Veterans Tribute Tower Freedom Bell and a recitation of “Tattered Old Flag.” Brigadier Gen. Evan C. Dertien, commander of the 96th Test Wing at Eglin AFB, will be the guest speaker. The program will conclude with a flyover by Air Commando Association leaders Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Wooley and retired Major Gen. (Ret.) Clay McCutchan. The cemetery is at 316 Beal Parkway NW. On Friday, more than 1,600 flags will be placed and honors rendered at the final resting places of veterans. Flags will be placed by the cadets of Fort Walton Beach High School’s Air Force JROTC wing. Guests are invited to bring a small bouquet as a floral tribute and will be welcomed to the community wreath creation during the ceremony. After the ceremony the flowers will be taken to the Air Force Enlisted Village and Hawthorn House for their residents’ enjoyment.
FWB First United Methodist Church: "A Tribute to Veterans," scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, will feature patriotic music and a special production from a Nashville theater company titled “My Father’s War” at the church at 103 First St. SE. The production is the story of a World War II veteran at the end of his life reflecting on the war and the sacrifices every veteran makes. There is no charge for the event, but a love offering will be taken. For more information, contact Rev. Dave Barkalow at 850-573-5991 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Santa Rosa Mall: The annual Veterans Day parade steps off at 1 p.m. Saturday at 300 Mary Esther Blvd.
Downtown: The city will host a Veterans Day parade at 9:30 a.m. that will begin at Milton High School and proceed 1 mile to the Veterans Memorial Plaza. An 11 a.m. ceremony at the plaza will include the reading of a city proclamation and speeches by local elected officials, presentation of coloring contest winners and a wreath placement. A 4-H barbecue cookout will follow from noon-1 p.m. For details, call Ralph Nesenson at 850-626-7292.
Parade MHS to Veterans Memorial Plaza on South Willing St., Milton. Ceremony at Memorial Plaza
Navarre Park: A ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the park at 8543 Navarre Parkway.
SANTA ROSA BEACH
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park: The event "Honoring Veterans: Past, Present and Future" is scheduled from 8:30-noon Saturday at the park on 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A. The event will feature programs, exhibits and activities honoring the connection between the park, the Panhandle and local military history. Events will include a Civil War living history exhibit and a Kids Korner with fun activities. Coffeen Nature Preserve will present its “Bombs Away” program, and there will be a mini-parade through the campground with golf carts, bikes, strollers, pets and people. Admission is free.
Doolittle Park: The annual ceremony includes a 9 a.m. breakfast Saturday, an 11 a.m. ceremony and a 12:30 p.m. lunch at the park on North John Sims Parkway.