MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hundreds came out to honor our veterans at a parade downtown on Friday.
The Golden veterans parade is meant to honor the courage and service of veterans of the Vietnam War, the Bay of Pigs—and all wars.
“We were never welcomed home,” said Vietnam veteran Dorthy Smith. “So this is the first time after 50-something years that we finally got welcomed home, so we are appreciative of that.”
The event at Bayfront Park included a tearful tribute, flyovers and a concert featuring nationally recognized bands that support veterans’ causes including Grand Funk Railroad, Willy Chirino and the 13th Army Band of the Florida National Guard.
“This parade is to bring the Vietnam vets, and all of our vets, together to heal the wounds that for so long have been present because they never got that parade. They never got that thank you,” said Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who helped organize the event with the Military Affairs Board.
“This is fantastic to see how Miami comes out and really lets folks know that they care,” said Vietnam Veteran Arthur Slagle. “That means a lot to the veterans and I appreciate it.”
The parade, presented by Hershey’s and sponsored by CBS4, was inspired by the recent presidential proclamation which designates the next 13 years as the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War to honor more than 3 million servicemen and women who served for more than 10 years of combat in Southeast Asia.
“I think it’s wonderful what they’ve done,” said Captain Len Holloway, a Vietnam vet.
The commemorative event is organized by the Military Affairs Board and with the support of 24 Miami-Dade municipalities, local military organizations and a diverse group of community leaders.
Participants include a motorcycle club, sponsor floats, veterans’ organizations, military units and their assets, five school marching bands and much more.
Veterans Day events will continue across town. Below is a list of locations and times:
Pembroke Pines: A ceremony honoring veterans will be held at noon Wednesday at the Donnith H. Fletcher Memorial Park, 7900 Johnson St.; free; refreshments; 954-435-6525.
Coconut Creek Veterans Day Ceremony: Activities include taps by the Coconut Creek Police Department Honor Guard; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesday; Veterans Park, southeast corner of Lyons and Sample roads; 954-956-1580.
Fort Lauderdale: Dedication ceremony includes speakers who have served in the U.S. Armed Services and rededication of the newly restored North American F-86H Sabre Jet Memorial; 11 a.m. Wednesday; Holiday Park, 800 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale. The program will include a presentation by the Air Force Association, Gold Coast Chapter 351, and recognition of local veterans groups; free but reservations required; 954-828-4750 or www.ci.ftlaud.fl.us.
Hallandale Beach: Placement of flags at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Hallandale Beach Cemetery, 801 NW Sixth Ave. followed by events and services at the Cultural Community Center, 410 SE Third St.; 954-457-1452.
Plantation: Elected officials and local dignitaries will be honoring veterans from 9:30 a.m.-noon Wednesday at Veterans Park, 1776 Lauderdale West Dr., Plantation; free; 954-452-2510.
Sunrise: The city will honor military veterans with a 21-gun salute, flag presentation and speeches at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Welleby Park, 11100 NW 44th St. The public is invited to bring donations like personal hygiene items, candy (not chocolate) and magazines to be sent to troops overseas; 954-746-3670.
Tamarac: Ceremony and veterans assembly from 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday at Veterans’ Park, 7825 Southgate Blvd., Tamarac; www.tamarac.org.
Aventura: Wednesday 10 a.m at the Aventura Government Center, 19200 West Country Club Dr. The free event features participation from veterans groups, patriotic performances by the Aventura City of Excellence School chorus, a World War II display and a guest speaker from the United States Southern Command. Event is free.
Miami Beach: Veterans Day parade and picnic, 9 a.m. Beginning at 17th Street, the parade will move down Washington Avenue to 11th Street and then head west to Flamingo Park, where a ceremony and picnic will be held on Wednesday. For information: Contact the office of Commissioner Jerry Libbin at 305-673-7106, or Christine Battles at 305-865-5733
North Miami: 10 a.m. at North Miami Veterans Monument Griffing Park, 12220 Griffing Blvd. Free ceremony features a 21-gun salute, presentation of colors, musical entertainment and free refreshments on Wednesday.
North Miami Beach: 10 a.m. at All Wars Memorial Park, 16500 NE 16th Ave. North Miami Beach is holding a special Veterans Day service at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the All Wars Memorial Park, 16500 NE 16th Ave. Includes a 21-gun salute, presentation of colors, speeches by elected officials and live music by Saint Andrew’s Bagpipe Band of Miami and the Artie Brown Orchestra. At 11:11 a.m., presenters will read the names of more than 220 Navy and Marine personnel who were killed in the 1983 bombing of U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. For information, call 305-948-2957.
Surfside: 10 a.m. Veteran’s Park, 8791 Collins Ave. Free event features a presentation of colors, local Boy and Girl Scout Troops and guest speakers on Wednesday. Call 305-866-3635 or www.townofsurfsidefl.gov.