Honoring our veterans: Cape Coral to hold parade, ceremony
Veterans and their service will be honored Tuesday in a parade in the South Cape.
The annual Veterans Day Parade will kick off at 11 a.m. on Southeast 47th Terrace, marching from Southeast Ninth Place to Southeast 15th Avenue. Residents and visitors are encouraged to attend.
“Our veterans do so much for us,” Linda Biondi, one of the organizers, said Thursday. “We sleep at night because of them. It’s our patriotic duty to give back to them, that’s what I feel.”
She estimated that the parade has been held annually for at least 10 years.
“Each year, we do a different war,” Biondi said. “This year, it’s the Korean War.”
Called “The Forgotten War,” the Korean War took place from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953.
Cape resident Robert “Bob” Hebner is the grand marshal for parade. He was in the U.S. Navy from 1949 to 1953, serving in the fall-winter campaign of 1952 and winter-spring campaign of 1952. Hebner previously participated in the parade with the local chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association.
“I’ve been in the parade for the last five years,” he said.
Hebner served as president of the local chapter, as well as the Department of Florida.
“This was a pleasant surprise when Linda called me and asked me to be the grand marshal,” he said, noting that he has never before been the grand marshal of any parade. “I was just overwhelmed.”
“I was speechless when I was asked,” Hebner said.
Approximately 70 groups will be marching in this year’s event.
“It’s as big if not bigger than last year,” Biondi said.
There are several high school marching bands and cheerleading squads, as well as JROTC cadets.
“We’ve got car clubs, the different veterans groups,” she said.
There will be a NASCAR tribute car and local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.
“The Dixie Roadhouse is putting in a float, and the Araba Shriners have got all sorts of stuff coming in,” Biondi said.
The parade typically lasts about an hour. FOX4’s Patrick Nolan will serve as the emcee.
Organizers are encouraging the public to come out with their American flags.
“We’re hoping that everybody lines the streets with their flags and waves the flags as our veterans go by,” she said.
According to Hebner, about 1,900 Korean War veterans die every day.
“The Korean War veterans now are at the head of the death chain. I hate to say that, but we are,” he said.
As for the parade, one of his favorite aspects is the JROTC students.
“It’s an excellent assembled parade with lots of big equipment coming along,” Hebner said.
Biondi estimated that thousands of people turn out for the event.
“When you’ve got a thousand kids, you’ve got two thousand parents,” she said, adding that there is no attendance goal. “We just hope that everybody comes out to support and show their patriotism.”
In addition to the parade Tuesday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Harney Point Post 8463 will hold a Veterans Day Remembrance ceremony at 2 p.m. at 4709 S.E. 11th Place. It is open to the public.
It will feature patriotic songs and military traditions, as well as a wreath presentation.
“Some of the businesses along Southeast 47th Terrace are going to have specials for the (parade) participants and veterans that day,” Biondi said. “There’s all kinds of specials for veterans.”
For more information about the annual Veterans Day Parade or to participant in the parade with a group, contact Linda Biondi at (239) 246-1157. Groups can register up until Monday.