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Longboat Key Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 7 years ago

Rotary Club to honor veterans

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The Rotary Club of Longboat Key will host its second annual Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11.
by: Kristen Herhold Community Editor

Veterans Day on Nov. 11 is a time to pay tribute to veterans’ sacrifices and selflessness, and the Rotary Club of Longboat Key plans to do just that in its second Veterans Day Parade.

The parade will honor veterans from the World War II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War and Persian Gulf War eras, and each of the five branches of service will be recognized.

The quarter-mile parade will take place on Bay Isles Road. It will begin at Bank of America and end at Temple Beth Israel, where the event will conclude with an honor program. The program will feature speakers from each branch and era of service.

More than 130 veterans participated in last year’s inaugural event, and the Rotary Club is hoping for even more.

“We had 130 right out of the gate last year, which surprised us,” Rotary Club President Carol Erker said. “I would hope to have more than 150 this year. There are hundreds of veterans on the Key.”

In addition to the veterans of the U.S. branches of service, the Rotary Club is inviting those who served in the allied forces to participate.

“We have a lot of Canadians on Longboat and people from other countries who fought valiantly,” said Sydelle Pittas, public relations director of the parade. “We want to acknowledge them as well.”

The Rotary Club also hopes to honor family members of veterans.

“We want to acknowledge the fact that when one member of the family is in the military, the whole family is affected,” Pittas said. “It puts strains on the families, and we want to try to recognize them too.”

Like last year, those unable to walk at the event will be provided rides in convertibles. New this year is the Sarasota High School Mighty Sailor Band, which will march in the parade, and there will be an air-conditioned seating area where World War II veterans can wait for the parade to begin.

The grand marshals have not yet been announced, but the Rotary Club plans to ask their intended marshals this week at a lunch at the Lazy Lobster. These World War II veterans met at last year’s parade and have been friends ever since.

“One of the things we wanted to accomplish was to provide not just the recognition for the veterans but also a social opportunity for these veterans to get to know each other, especially the greatest generation,” Erker said. “We are reaching out to some very special veterans who participated in last year’s event.”

World War II veterans march in last year’s parade.

 

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