'We answered our nation's call': Rain doesn't dampen patriotism as Crestview honors Veterans Day

Tony Judnich
Northwest Florida Daily News

CRESTVIEW — Numerous veterans have missed their children’s births and birthdays, as well as anniversaries and other major life events so all Americans “can live free and safe from harm,” Air Force veteran Chris Drew said Thursday at Crestview’s Veterans Day Ceremony.

Air Force Senior Airman Amanda Pearson and Air Force veteran David Rodriguez sing the national anthem at Crestview's Veterans Day Ceremony on Thursday at American Legion Post 75.

About 100 people honored veterans inside American Legion Post 75 just east of downtown. The threat of inclement weather led to the cancellation of the city’s Veterans Day Parade as well as the relocation of the ceremony from the Okaloosa County Veterans Memorial on Main Street.

Drew, the event's guest speaker, is a retired Air Force captain who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He currently is the assistant professor of Aerospace Studies-Air Force ROTC Detachment 014 at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

Air Force veteran Chris Drew speaks at Crestview's Veterans Day Ceremony at American Legion Post 75. About 100 people attended the event, which was moved from the Okaloosa County Veterans Memorial because of the threat of rain

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Veterans Day is a time for veterans to come together, reflect, pass on their stories and “renew the bonds that only a few others outside of veterans can understand,” Drew said. “We have answered our nation’s call, defending our posts and defending her from tyranny.”

Students' tributes to military heroes were displayed at American Legion Post 75 during Crestview's Veterans Day ceremony.

Crestview Mayor JB Whitten told the audience while he is a veteran, he wasn’t going to mention which branch of the military he served in.

“We’re all veterans” he said to all those who have served.

Crestview's Veterans Day Ceremony was moved to American Legion Post 75 from the Okaloosa County Veterans Memorial because of the threat of rain.

Besides honoring all veterans and local veteran organizations, the ceremony included the singing of the national anthem by Air Force Senior Airman Amanda Pearson and Air Force veteran David Rodriguez, as well as the singing of “God Bless the USA” by Rodriguez.