The Longboat Key Rotary Club’s third annual Veterans Day Parade brought 150 veterans together for an afternoon of patriotism.
It might be called the world’s shortest parade, but what it lacks in distance it makes up for in pride.
The Longboat Key Rotary Club’s third annual Veterans Day Parade and Honor Program brought about 150 veterans together Nov. 11. The quarter-mile parade route was lined with residents, family members and friends cheering for Longboat Key’s bravest. American flags lined the path, as well.
The veterans marched by era: Persian Gulf War, Vietnam War, Cold War, Korean War and World War II. Family members followed.
“It’s a good recognition of the years of service put in by many residents,” U.S. Army veteran Barbara Rowe said.
As Tom Finnegan, a U.S. Army veteran, looked around at the crowd gathering before the parade, he said he is always amazed at how many people served. For him, the parade is more about remembering his comrades than receiving thanks from residents.
“I appreciate it very much, but I always pray for the guys that got killed that didn’t come back and I went in with,” he said.
This year’s grand marshal was Harold Ronson, a Navy veteran who served from 1944 to 1946. Following the parade, he was the first speaker during the honor program. He said that when he looks at all the negativity in the world, he just thinks of the good men with whom he served.
Before Ronson spoke, Longboat Key Rotary Club President Jack Rozance welcomed the crowd. He said that whether the veterans in attendance served for two years or 28, they made a difference.
“It’s the most inspiring thing we’ve done to be a part of this,” Rozance said. “ I am totally inspired by our veterans and their families.”