Veterans groups and supporters marched in tribute to fallen soldiers on May 30.
Sarasota came together to remember those who gave all during the annual Memorial Day parade on May 30.
The parade — canceled last year because of the pandemic but had veterans groups marching all the same followed by an informal ceremony — returned in earnest with a morning march put together by the city of Sarasota and the Sarasota Patriotic Observance Committee.
Main Street was filled with veterans groups, local military academy and school bands and supporting organizations marching towards J.D. Hamel Park to the cheers of locals excited to show their patriotism.
"Everything you do today, please take a moment to remember the price that was paid," Sonny Bywaters of American Legion Post 30 said to start the ceremony.
The day's events concluded with a reverent — and shaded— ceremony at J.D. Hamel Park. The audience assembled under trees and a tent area to hear from Sarasota city representatives and veterans supporters. Eugene Lyons, a 98-year-old Sarasota resident and World War II Navy veteran, was on hand with the day's speakers and was honored at the ceremony. Many of the children at the event got up to shake Lyons' hand early in the ceremony.
Lyon's son Chris came from Fort Lauderdale to join him at the ceremony. The pair were at last year's unofficial event.
"We didn't expect this (ceremony)," Chris Lyons said. "There aren't too many (World War II veterans) left."
Cindy West, a U.S. Army veteran and resource nurse with Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Behavioral Intervention Team, served as this year’s keynote speaker. The ceremony ended with a rendition of "Amazing Grace" by piper Micah Adams and Taps by Danny Bilyeu.
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.