Honor and remembrance
A mass of people lined Southeast Ninth Place, waiting for the signal.
There was retired armed forces personnel, city and county officials, marching bands, motorcycles, boats, convertibles, ROTC from around Lee County, cheerleaders and Shriners in their funny little hats.
World War II era fighter planes buzzed overhead, signaling the start of this year’s Veterans Day parade in downtown Cape Coral, and the caravan slowly began to make the turn onto Southeast 47th Terrace, heading west toward Del Prado Boulevard.
Children scrambled as candy was tossed onto the street from the passing motorcade, waving tiny American flags on little sticks.
Mayor Eric Feichthaler walked along while members of the city council waved to the crowd from various modes of transportation. City manager Terry Stewart rolled by on his hog, smiling and revving his engine.
Ret. Air Force Col. Joseph Surico was decked out in full dress, riding in a convertible Chrysler Seabring.
A resident of the Cape since 1989, and member of the Calusa Chapter of Military Officer Association of America, Surico said he was honored to be a part of the parade.
“We’ve done this every year for the last 10 years,” Surico said. “And the Military Officer Association has had a chapter here for 40 years.”
The Shriners virtually had their own section of the parade, with clowns, jailbirds, pirate ships and tiny cars with blathering horns.
The ROTC portion of the parade was a favorite for many of those watching from the sidelines. Parents ran out into the street to snap pictures or take video of their children, all of them proud to have their kids be a part of such an important day.
“It’s a big honor,”said Darlene Lawhon, whose son, Kyle, marched with the Riverdale ROTC. “This is his first time out.”
Like Lawhon, Kimberly Alan watched her son, Malachi, march with the Cape High ROTC battalion for the first time. A freshman at Cape, Malachi plans to enter a career in the military after high school.
“He’s always been into the military, and military history. He’s been very interested in Pearl Harbour,” she said.
ROTC battalions were present from schools including North and South Fort Myers, Cape, Dunbar, Island Coast and Ida S. Baker.