MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - From Arlington Cemetery to Miami Beach, veterans, active military and fallen heroes are being honored across the country this Veterans Day.
In South Florida, communities honored the federal holiday with events in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
The day kicked off with the eighth annual Veterans Day parade, which got underway along Ocean Drive, near Sixth Street. WSVN’s own Ann Keil served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.
The parade featured floats, veteran and military groups, school marching bands, cars, pageant queens and a high-flying all-veterans parachute team.
“The world wants to be here today, and the least we can do is take one day out of the year to celebrate our military,” said spectator Charles Sachs.
At around noon, crowds began lining up in anticipation for a Veterans Day event at Flamingo Park, where attendees enjoyed live performances, rides, family-fun activities and special guests.
“Just grateful for everything you do for myself and all American citizens in this beautiful country,” said parade host Bryant Del Toro.
Festivities took place in other parts of South Florida, as well. From Coconut Grove to Fort Lauderdale, patriotism was alive and well.
In Coconut Grove, the annual Veterans Day Parade took place, which featured a community gathering, live music and food.
“It reminds us of all of the people that have served for our country,” said Stephanie Noridge, who attended the Coconut Grove Veterans Day event. “And especially of my father, who is 95 years old and he is a World War II vet, and I am very proud of him and of everyone who has served.”
“I’m just very proud that people appreciate what we did,” said Les Megyeri, a 30-year U.S. Army veteran.
Patriotic pride was also in full display in North Miami with a traditional 21-gun salute and taps. Community resources and assistance for veterans were also being offered as part of the day’s event.
The outpouring of support was much appreciated by the men and women that this day is all about. “It’s really touching for me, especially when I go to Washington and see the wall of the ones that didn’t make it back, so it’s just really, really touching,” said U.S. Army veteran Calvin Pitts.
Meanwhile, in Fort Lauderdale, a touching ceremony was held in Riverwalk for fallen and deceased veterans.
Family members were on hand to represent their loved ones, like Sue Penny, whose son, Army Ranger medic Jonathan K. Penny, was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan.
Sue Penny told 7News the importance of the holiday can never be emphasized enough, no matter how hard it is. “So no one will forget the fallen, including my son, but no one should forget any veteran who has served,” she said.