Communities across Northwest Florida will be marking Veterans Day in the coming days. Events include dramatic presentations, parades and an assortment of festivals and other observances.
Here is a list of some of the ways the holiday will be observed locally. It might not include every local Veterans Day observance, and note also that some events are scheduled on days other than the holiday.
At 11 a.m. Sunday, a memorial service will be held at the Veterans Memorial Wall next to the Okaloosa County Courthouse downtown. On Monday, the downtown area will host a Veterans Day parade at 10 a.m.
The city will host its annual Veterans Day Program at 11 a.m. Sunday at the amphitheater on Circle Drive. The guest speaker is retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Gregory K. Gandy.
FORT WALTON BEACH
The annual Veterans Day Celebration Ceremony at Beal Memorial Cemetery, hosted by the Veterans Tribute Tower Committee, will be at 11 a.m. Monday. Everyone attending will have the opportunity to participate by helping to build the Community Floral Wreath at the base of the flagpole. Guests are asked to bring small floral bouquets that will help create the wreath. After the ceremony, the flowers will be presented to residents at Hawthorn House and the Air Force Enlisted Village.
Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, will be the speaker. The event also will include recognition of the late Brig. Gen. George E. "Bud" Day, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and Special Forces Sgt. Fred Gassman, Choctaw High School Class of 1966, who was listed as missing in action in 1971 in Vietnam.
Joining Gen. Webb will be military personnel and their families from Australia and the United Kingdom currently stationed at Eglin Air Force Base. Participating in the joint ceremony will be their commanding officer, Royal Navy Commander Gregory Smith.
The city will host its annual Veterans Day ceremony at 2 p.m. Monday at City Hall. The event will include the unveiling and dedication of the new Purple Heart Memorial.
Also Monday, local veterans will unveil the Walk of War at the Veterans Memorial Monument at Casey Park adjacent to City Hall.
A concert to benefit the Freeport Veterans Memorial will be at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Gazebo Green at Hammock Bay.
On Saturday the city will honor military veterans and those currently serving in the U.S. armed forces with the annual Veterans Day parade, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. near Santa Rosa Mall.
A Veterans Day parade is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Monday, beginning at Milton High School and ending at the Veterans Memorial Plaza. Following the parade, an 11 a.m. ceremony will be held at the Veterans Memorial Plaza. In the event of inclement weather, Veterans Day events will be held at Milton High School.
At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, a Junior ROTC unit will march to Navarre Park, after which an 11 a.m. Veterans Day ceremony will be held. An open house with lunch will immediately follow the ceremony at American Legion Post 382 at 1850 Luneta St.
SANTA ROSA BEACH
A Tribute to Veterans is being sponsored by Point Washington United Methodist Church at 1290 N. County Highway 395, at 3 p.m. Monday. The church will offer a presentation of patriotic music before the play "My Father’s War," the story of a World War II soldier, is performed.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, will host a program titled “Honoring Veterans: Past, Present and Future” from 8:30 a.m. to noon Sunday. The observance will include a flag ceremony and vintage airplane flyover. Festivities will end with a parade of golf carts, bikes, strollers, pets and people through the campground. Admission to the park is free during the event.