MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just before Veterans Day, the entire community is invited to honor the veterans of the Vietnam War, and all wars, with a parade and free concert Friday.

Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Military Affairs Board County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, along with members of the Military Affairs Board, are inviting the community to honor the courage and service of veterans of the Vietnam War, the Bay of Pigs—and all wars—by attending the Miami-Dade County Golden Veterans Parade on Friday November 8th.

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The parade, presented by Hershey’s, will begin at noon on Flagler Street under the I-95 overpass and continue down Flagler to Bayfront Park.

“This is a long overdue tribute to Vietnam veterans who fought bravely and honorably but never received a proper homecoming,” Commissioner Diaz said. “We are also honoring all the brave men and women across Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida who have risked their lives to defend this country’s hard-won freedoms over the years.”

Once the parade is over, there will be a commemorative ceremony which includes a free concert with nationally recognized bands that support veterans’ causes including Grand Funk Railroad, Willy Chirino and the 13th Army Band of the Florida National Guard.

The parade 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.

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.

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Participants include a motorcycle club, sponsor floats, veterans’ organizations, military units and their assets, five school marching bands and much more.

There will be street closures and reroutes in the area to honor the even. The following is a timeline of scheduled street closures:

  • At 6 a.m., West Flagler Street from 2nd Avenue to North River Drive, and North River Drive from Flagler Street to NW 3rd Street will be closed.  This will be the staging area for the parade participants.
  • At 8 a.m., Flagler Street from North River Drive to Biscayne Boulevard will be closed and barricades will be set up along the route. All cross streets (avenues) will remain open for vehicles and pedestrians to travel north and south.
  • At 10 a.m., the remaining necessary closures will be implemented, to include all cross streets (avenues) intersecting Flagler Street.  Biscayne Boulevard will be closed between SE 2nd and NE 1st Streets
  • Following the parade, the streets will be reopened following cleaning and clearing of barricades.
  • Biscayne Boulevard and Flagler Street east of East 3rd Avenue will remain closed until the end of the concert at approximately 6 p.m.
  • All traffic traveling northbound on Biscayne Boulevard will be sent west on SE 2nd Street.  This reroute will remain in effect as long as Biscayne Boulevard is closed.
  • All traffic traveling southbound on Biscayne Boulevard will be sent west on NE 1st Street. This reroute will remain in effect as long as Biscayne Boulevard is closed.

The City of Miami Trolley’s Biscayne and Coral Way routes also will be affected by the parade.

North of Flagler Street, the Biscayne Route will be detoured onto NE 1st Street at Biscayne Boulevard, head west to NW 2nd Avenue, proceed north to NW 5th Street, head east into PortMiami and then resume northbound on Biscayne Boulevard. South of Flagler Street, the Biscayne Route will take Brickell Avenue northbound to SE 4th Street, head east to SE 3rd Avenue, north to SE 2nd Street, and west to SE 2nd Avenue before returning south.

The Coral Way Route will head north on NW 2nd Avenue to SW 1st Street, east to Miami Avenue, south to SE 2nd Street, and west to NW 2nd Avenue before returning south.

People leaving the event should take the trolley on the north side all the way to Northwest 2nd Ave where the designated free parking is located. For more information about the trolley detours, call 305-416-1132 or visit www.miamitrolley.com. Additionally, live trolley tracking is provided at miami.etaspot.net.

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Anna Lingeris, a spokesperson for The Hershey Company which is the presenting sponsor of the event, said, “The Hershey Company has a long tradition of supporting the U.S. military. From the creation of the ration bar to the donation of products and to our commitment to hiring veterans, Hershey is proud to honor the service of our veterans and sponsor the Miami-Dade County Veterans Day celebration.”
On July 16, 2013, County Commissioners adopted a resolution sponsored by Commissioner Diaz to support the parade and commemoration.