Honoring our Heroes: Several events in Cape to mark Veterans Day
A weekend celebration will honor America’s heroes, veterans and active duty military.
The Cape Coral Veterans Day Parade will take place on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. along Southeast 47th Terrace. Hosted by the Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Department and other local supporters, the parade heads westbound from Southeast 15th Avenue to Southeast Eighth Court.
Linda Biondi, one of the organizers, said it is a longtime event for the Cape.
“It’s to celebrate our veterans,” she said. “They’re very special people.”
Last year, an estimated 70 to 80 groups took part, with thousands of parade-watchers on site.
“It’s the same this year,” she said of the number of participants.
“The streets were lined with people,” Biondi added. “There were thousands of people downtown.”
Every year, the parade honors veterans from one of the United States’ armed conflicts. In the past, the Vietnam War, World War II, Iraq War and Korean War, even Pearl Harbor, have been highlighted.
This year, the parade will honor everyone who has served.
“A celebration of all veterans,” she said. “Just to do something different.”
The grand marshal for the parade this year is Rebecca Sewell.
According to Biondi, Sewell served 24 years in the U.S. Army before retiring.
“She’s been in Iraq, Honduras – all over the place,” she said.
Sewell is also a member of the American Legion of Southwest Florida Post 90.
“It’s nice to honor somebody who’s also local,” Biondi said.
The North Fort Myers High School choir will perform the opening ceremonies.
“They’re coming to sing a couple of patriotic songs and open with the national anthem,” she said.
For the third year in a row, there will be a reviewing area along the parade route for the performers at Southeast 10th Place. At the junction, the participating groups will stop and showcase their talents.
“Some of the groups are going to actually perform,” Biondi said.
This year’s emcees will be Tony Sadiku and Lisa Greenberg, both with Fox 4.
Some of this year’s participants include the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Cape police and fire, motorcycle and Corvette clubs, marching bands, dance and step teams, and JROTC groups.
“Almost every single high school is our county is represented with their JROTC unit,” she said.
There will be local dignitaries, basset hounds, Clydesdales and the Araba Shriners.
“They come with all kinds of fun stuff, with their clowns and mini-vehicles,” Biondi said.
One of the parade’s new faces will be Wolfhounds Legacy.
“They train service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress,” she said.
There will also be several veterans groups represented.
“It’s going to be quite the parade,” Biondi said.
Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs, bottled water and American flags to wave.
“I don’t think it’ll be too hot, so I think it’ll be good,” she said.
Another Veterans Day event in the Cape will be a ceremony today at 1 p.m. at Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve. Hosted by the Iraq War Monument, the event will recognize a veteran.
“We will be honoring U.S. Army POW Spc. Joseph Hudson,” Michelle Rosenberger said.
Hudson served in the 507th Maintenance Company, along with POW Jessica Lynch.
“He was also captured on (March 23, 2003) but unlike Jessica, because she was being kept in a different location, Joseph was captured longer,” she said, adding that he was held for three weeks.
Hudson will place his dog tag on the Star of Heroes, along with Sgt. James Reily.
In addition, schools in the Cape announced the following programs:
* Caloosa Elementary will honor its special guests on Friday at 8:30 a.m. for pre-kindergarten to second grade and at 9:15 a.m. for third to fifth grade. The school has a Veteran’s Wall of Honor.
* Cape Elementary will hold an event to honor about 40 local veterans on Friday at 8:15 a.m.
Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve is at 2500 S.E. 24th St.