Community | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

[UPDATE] Tallahassee Salutes its Veterans

By: Lanetra Bennett, Amy Long, Eyewitness News Email
By: Lanetra Bennett, Amy Long, Eyewitness News Email

As our nation honors U.S. military servicemen and women, our community comes together to pay tribute to war veterans.

Organizers of this year's Veterans Day parade say that it was bigger than anything they ever expected.

It was estimated that about 25-35,000 people lined the streets of Tallahassee to pay honor to our troops.

John Gamwell made sure to get a seat at the parade. The veteran says he doesn't want to think about his time in the Vietnam War.

"I don't want to remember anymore." Said, Gamwell.

On this Veterans Day, he'd rather it be all about the parade and everyone who came out to support it and veterans.

Gamwell said, "I think it's wonderful. Finally. Now people appreciate us. That's good."

Vietnam Veteran Johnnie Yeomans said, "It makes you feel welcomed because we weren't welcomed when we came home. It makes you feel good to know that all of these people out here are here to see us."

Hundreds of people came out in Tallahassee Thursday to say thank you.

As the parade made its way down Monroe Street, folks on the sideline waved their hands, their American flags, and opened their hearts.

Parade goer Alesia Hurley said, "To honor our veterans and just have a good time, watch the floats and let my kids come out and enjoy the beautiful weather."

Veterans marched with pride, Buffalo Soldiers, ROTC cadets, local marching bands, and many others.

In the final stretch, they walked and rode through a lining of veterans holding flags along Gaines Street.

Even the youngest of parade-goers understood the meaning of the day.

12-year-old Raysha Rush said, "It's about honoring the troops that fought for us."

12-year-old Raynn Rush said, "Veterans Day is the day that you should not make fun of it because it's the day that yo should appreciate that our soldiers are out there fighting for us."

Eleven year old Carter Singletary said, "It's very impressive how we have this one day to honor all the veterans that fought."

This year's Veterans Day Parade actually inspired career goals in the younger supporters.

Of course many say they would like to join the military and become a veteran themselves one day.

But, 11-year-old Carter also says that seeing all of the awesome bands today makes him want to hone his saxophone skills so that he can march with a high school and college band in the future.

The parade stopped in front of the Veterans Memorial at 11:00 to represent the 11th hour that World War I ended. Tapps was played, and they had a 21-gun salute.

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[UPDATE] 11-11 1:56PM --

People all across North Florida and South Georgia are pausing to remember and honor our veterans today and it seems the sun is doing the same as Tallahassee shakes off the storms that can celled last year's parade.

Last year's parade was can celled due to bad weather, but it seemed like nothing could stop the parade this year. The parade featured marching bands, dignitaries and of course the men and women who have fought in our nation's wars from World War II to the War on Terror.

WCTV has included some 5 minutes worth of footage from th November 11 Veterans Parade in Tallahassee. .
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Hundreds of local veterans lined up this morning in Tallahassee to share breakfast, swap stories, and rub shoulders with their former comrades in arms.

The scene was the American Legion Hall at Lake Ella. Veterans of every conflict from World War II to Vietnam to the War on Terror gathered for grits, eggs and sausage.

But the focus was not so much on food-- as it was freedom.. and the price paid to keep it.

One vet vividly remembers how many were lost at Iowa Jima.

"That's been a picture in my mind ever since seeing them go down," said Edmond Stearman, WWII Vet.

One veteran of the War on Terror in Iraq attended the breakfast-- she and her husband were deployed at the same time-- and had to leave their son with his uncle while they served.

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[UPDATE] 10-21 9:00AM --

TPD has issued a statement:

Tomorrow, the Tallahassee Police Department will join together with other local law enforcement agencies, honoring the sacrifice made by veterans. Law enforcement officers will assist as the Veterans Day Parade takes center stage along Monroe Street. Beginning at 10:15AM, North Monroe Street will be closed between East Tennessee Street and East Gaines Street. The parade is scheduled to begin at 10:30AM and will pause during the route at the intersection of South Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway. During the pause, a wreath will be placed at the Vietnam Memorial, followed by a 21 gun salute to our fallen heroes.

Normal traffic flow is expected to be established at approximately Noon.

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[UPDATE] 10-21 9:00AM --

Both major Universities in Tallahassee will be performing in the November 11th Veterans Day Parade. Dr. Patrick Dunnigan and the Florida State University Marching Chiefs and Dr. Julian White and the Marching 100 from Florida A&M University will perform in the 2010 Veterans Day Parade.

Stay with WCTV as the Veterans Day Parade preparations continue.

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[UPDATE] 10-20 11:00AM

Tallahassee, Florida -- The final parade route for the Tallahassee Veterans Day parade has been determined.

The parade will begin at 10:30 AM on Call St and Monroe, going South on Monroe to Gaines St., turning East (left) on Gaines St and proceeding to Meridian where it will turn back North (left) and proceed to East St. Augustine where it will turn East(right) and proceed to Suwannee St. where it will turn back South(right) and empty out into the 2 DOT parking lots off Suwannee.

Registration for participants and volunteers will be on Adams St. at Park Ave between 8 and 10 AM on November 11, pre-registered participants will be able to go to their pre-assigned staging spots on Call Street.

Stay with WCTV for more details.

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Veteran's Day is a month away. But, a group of local veterans are facing county commissioners to see if they have the final approval to move forward with this year's parade.

In February, Leon County Commissioners gave a group of local veterans the approval to take over with the planning of the Veteran's Day Parade in Tallahassee.

Tuesday night, those veterans are hoping for the final blessing after they present the commission with an update.

Last year's parade was canceled just before start time because of potential rain.

That struck a nerve with a lot of veterans who say they feel rain should not stop the community from honoring war heroes.

The Leon County Commission gave the veterans the okay to organize this year's parade.

The Veteran's Day parade will be November 11th at 10:30 a.m. on Monroe Street in Downtown Tallahassee.


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