Veterans Day observances, including parades and the laying of wreaths, are scheduled acorss Northwest Florida on Monday.
FORT WALTON BEACH — Veterans Day activities across the area Monday will be centerpieced by the annual observance at Beal Memorial Cemetery, but other communities also will be honoring those who have served in America’s armed forces.
As in years past, the Beal Memorial Cemetery observance, sponsored by the Veterans Tribute Tower Committee, will begin at 11 a.m. at the cemetery at 316 Beal Parkway N.W. in Fort Walton Beach.
The guest speaker will be Air Force Lt. Gen. James Slife, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field. Among others participating in the observance will be Army Col. John Sannes, commander of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), retired Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Roberts, Terry James of American Legion Post 235, the Rev. Cecil Williams of Gregg Chapel AME Church, and students from Liza Jackson Preparatory School.
A number of local and state officials also will attend, along with guests from the British and Italian armed forces.
Elsewhere in the area on Monday, other Veterans Day observances include:
A Veterans Day Parade and Memorial Service will be held on Main Street beginning at 10 a.m. The parade ends at the Veterans Memorial located near the Okaloosa County Courthouse.
Mary Esther’s annual Veterans Day parade will step off from Santa Rosa Mall at 300 Mary Esther Boulevard at 1 p.m., and head down Hollywood Boulevard to Mary Esther Cut-Off and Page Bacon Road.
Grand marshal for the parade will be retired Air Force officer John Bostick, whose career included flying with the Thunderbirds precision flight demonstration team.
Former VFW Commander-in-Chief John E. Hamilton will make the keynote address at the Veterans Day observance scheduled for 11 a.m. at the DeFuniak Springs Amphitheater at 1183 Circle Drive. The event is free and open to the public.
The ceremony is hosted by the city of DeFuniak Springs in partnership with local American Veterans Post 178, the Disabled American Veterans Post 98, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4437, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office honor guard and other organizations.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
The city of Milton will host a parade and Veterans Day ceremony at 9:30 a.m. The parade will travel from Milton High School down State Road 87 to the Veterans Memorial Plaza at 5191 Willing St.
The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Plaza and will include the laying of a wreath and the playing of “Taps.”
At 11 a.m. local veterans groups will host a ceremony at Navarre Park at 8513 Navarre Parkway, with participation from the Navarre High School Navy Junior ROTC program and local Scout troops.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who represents Northwest Florida in Congress, will be the guest speaker.
CrossFit Pace Patriot Pride at 5768 Quintette Road will host special workouts at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Proceeds will go to the families of Army Master Sgts. Luis Figueroa and Jose Gonzalez, members of the Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) who were killed in action earlier this year.