By: Lanetra Bennett
June 6, 2014
Tallahassee, FL - As the nation commemorates the 70th anniversary of "D-Day", so does Leon County Government.
County Commissioner Kristin Dozier says, "Seventy years ago on a murky Tuesday morning, 500 ships, 156,000 allied troops crossed the English channel and landed on the German fortified beaches of Normandy, France."
During a 70th anniversary ceremony Friday, Leon County remembered that epic mission known as "D-Day"... honoring the men and women of World War two.
Veteran SGT Wayne Coloney was the keynote speaker. He says, "Our very existence as a nation on the Normandy invasion, which was a highly risky and dangerous gamble. The fact that we are here now is due in large part to the success of that gamble, which we won at an enormous cost in death and wounded."
County officials say out of the more than 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 1,000 called Leon County home.
Hundreds of veterans and community members and leaders filled the front yard of the Leon County Courthouse in their honor.
WWII Veteran Don Cable says, "I'm just happy that I'm in America, always will be. I'm very grateful to Tallahassee what they've done here."
Celebrating the victories also means remembering the pain.
WWII Veteran Walter Johnson recalls his medical treatments. He says, "Broken shoulder, two brain surgeries, operated here (right arm), operated there (left arm) and my back."
Ma Kemp with Leon County EMS says, "If you're looking for real heroes, you're in good company today."
Press Release: Leon County
Leon County Honors World War II Veterans with Ceremony
Operation Thank You Honors the Greatest Generation with Formal Program
Today, Leon County’s Operation Thank You recognized the service of
World War II veterans in front of the Leon County Courthouse near the
World War II Memorial. The event began with a formal ceremony followed
by breakfast served by Leon County Commissioners and staff to a
gathering of more than 500 members of the community comprised of
veterans, their families and guests.
Following the success of the first two Operation Thank You events, Leon
County Government continued the annual commitment by honoring World War
II veterans on the 70-year anniversary of D-Day. Leon County is home to
more than 1,000 World War II veterans, but veterans throughout Florida
and the southeast region attended the ceremony.
“More than seven decades ago, Allied troops landed on the beaches of
Normandy to confront injustice,” said Kristin Dozier, Chairman of the
Leon County Commission. “Today’s event reflects the Board’s
commitment to honoring the service and sacrifice of our brave men and
women. We support our local armed forces members, veterans and families,
and this event is just one of many ways we say thank you.”
Operation Thank You highlights the importance Leon County places on
supporting local armed forces members, veterans and their families.
"Leon County has a long history of serving our veterans, and today was
no exception," said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. "Our
Veteran Services Office supports veterans and their families with job
assistance, grant programs and benefit consultation. What you see here
today is one part of the steadfast commitment our County Commission has
made to veterans."
Chairman Dozier led the ceremony that recognized Leon County’s World
War II veterans, which opened with the posting of colors by a Joint
Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) Color Guard and
performance of the National Anthem by the Lawton Chiles High School
Choir. Remarks were made by World War II veterans and their family
members, including comments by Ben Bradwell, Leon County Veteran
The ceremony closed with recognition of the World War II veterans by
the Leon County Commission. More than 100 World War II veterans stood at
attention as they were presented with a Grateful Nation Remembers
Commemorative Coin and a replica of the Leon County Proclamation read by
Chairman Dozier dedicating Friday, June 6, 2014 “In Honor of our World
of War II Veterans.” Finally, World War II veterans in attendance
gathered near their memorial for a group portrait in front of the Leon
Following the ceremony, County Commissioners cooked, flipped and served
pancakes to the veterans and guests in attendance at the event. Also,
featured following breakfast service was the World War II Memorial
Center inside the County Courthouse, which displayed posters, letters
and memorabilia specific to the World War II era. Exhibitors from
various veteran service organizations, as well as Camp Gordon Johnston
and Florida State University, were in attendance to share historical
items with the community.
For event information and highlights of Leon County’s efforts to
support the veteran community through its services, programs and
partnerships, visit the Operation Thank You website at
www.LeonCountyFL.gov/OperationThankYou or contact Shington Lamy,
Assistant to the Leon County Administrator, at (850) 606-5300 w /
LamyS@LeonCountyFL.gov or Ben Bradwell, Leon County Veteran Services
Officer, at (850) 606-1940 / BradwellB@LeonCountyFL.gov .
Cutline; OTY_WWIIVets_IMG_8374_web.jpg: Leon County’s 2014 Operation
Thank You recognized the service of World War II veterans in front of
the Leon County Courthouse near the World War II Memorial on the 70-year
anniversary of D-Day. Veterans throughout Florida and the southeast
region attended the ceremony, which was held Friday, June 6.
Cutline; OTY_BOCC_IMG_0556_web.jpg: (l - r) Leon County Commissioner
Jane G. Sauls, Commissioner John E. Dailey, Commissioner Bryan Desloge,
Commission Vice-Chair Mary Ann Lindley, County Administrator Vince Long
and Commission Chairman Kristin Dozier cooked, flipped and served
pancakes to veterans and guests in attendance at Leon County's Operation
Thank You Friday morning honoring World War II veterans with a formal
ceremony and breakfast. Veterans were also presented with a
commemorative coin and proclamation during the formal ceremony.