Local military veterans are invited to The Islander’s seventh annual Veterans Day Salute starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 9, outdoors at the Veterans Memorial marker at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.
Coffee service at 8:30 a.m. is sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe of Holmes Beach.
At 9 a.m., the event gets under way with Islander publisher Bonner Joy as host and a welcome from Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger. The event will include speakers and ceremonies honoring veterans of the United States and its allies in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Middle East wars, and, in particular, those veterans whose stories appeared in The Islander’s veterans column by Islander reporter Rick Catlin.
Catlin, who has written the Greatest Generation and Forgotten Generation stories since the column began in 2002, will speak. Guests also will hear from Karen Abel, whose grandfather flew in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the Aleutian Islands during WWII. She is on a personal mission to travel to the tiny island where he served.
A special guest is Vicki Gipson Grogan, who spoke last year shortly after the death of her grandfather, Ralph Bassett, a frequent speaker at the event who was a U.S. Marine and fought in WWII and Korea. This year, Grogan will introduce her cousin, Nick Gipson, a U.S. Army specialist who just returned from duty in Afghanistan.
Kirby Stewart American Legion Post No. 24 in Palma Sola will present the colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Entertainer Mike Sales will lead the national anthem. The event will conclude with a rifle salute and the playing of taps.
Veterans Day is officially Sunday, Nov. 11.
The city of Holmes Beach and The Islander will be closed Nov. 12, the official holiday.
Editor’s Note: By an act of the U.S. Congress, honorably discharged veterans of the armed services are allowed to wear their uniforms at military ceremonies and to salute the colors, whether in uniform or not.