Annual parade honors veterans
The Veterans Day parade in downtown Cape Coral is a perennial favorite, drawing crowds along Southeast 47th Terrace year in and year out.
Some come out to honor family members who have served and fallen, while others show to support family members currently enlisted. A lot of people simply attend to show their support for the U.S. Armed Forces and their pride in America.
For Army Spc. Amanda Goodlin, this year’s parade had a different connotation. In January, Goodlin will ship out to Afghanistan to serve her first tour of duty.
“I’m really looking forward to going,” she said. “I’ve wanted to go over there for a long time.”
Enlisting a year ago, Goodlin switched her career from a special education teacher at Mariner High School to pursue the Army.
It was a family tradition, of sorts, for Goodlin. Her father, Don, fought in Vietnam, the Tet Offensive, in particular.
“My father saw heavy combat in the jungle,” she said.
Parading along with the Basset Hound Rescue and Social Club of Lee, Hendry, and Charlotte Counties, Goodlin had her hound, Andre, along for the tour.
The group was just one of many who took part in Wednesday’s parade.
Bands from Cape Coral High and Ida S. Baker provided music, and the Araba Shriners brought out their clowns to entertain the children.
Elected officials, including Cape Coral’s new Mayor John Sullivan and Lee County Commissioners Brian Bigelow and Ray Judah, waved and offered their support on Veterans Day.
At the heart of the celebration was soldiers like Goodlin, who was also paying tribute to her father.
She said they share a special bond because of their service to the country.
Goodlin added that the way people perceive and respond to soldiers now is a lot different from when her father served, when Vietnam vets were not looked on favorably.
Home on leave, this is the last time she will see her parents before she heads back to Camp Mabry in Texas.
“This parade has been really fun,” Goodlin said. “I’m honored to be here and be a part of it.”