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Posted on: November 11, 2023

Veterans Day Ceremony in Fort Watlon Beach

Fort Walton Beach residents gather to celebrate Veterans Day.

Hundreds of people packed the American Legion Post 235 on Hollywood Boulevard Saturday for the annual Veterans Day observance. The event, hosted by the Veterans Tribute Tower Committee, was moved indoors because of rain.

City of Fort Walton Beach Mayor and Air Force veteran Dick Rynearson and his wife, Janey, represented the city along with Councilman David Schmidt and several of the city's police officers, who are also veterans.

This year’s guest speaker was Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Geraghty, Commander of the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base. Geraghty spoke of the sacrifice of our veterans, and their commitment.

“The men and women who don the uniform, do so out of love for their country, a profound sense of duty, and a commitment to protecting the principles upon which this nation was founded,” said Geraghty during Saturday’s ceremony.

Master of Ceremonies Tom Rice recognized the many veterans who filled the room, who served in conflicts ranging from the Korean War to the Global War on Terror.

Cadets from Fort Walton Beach High School’s Junior ROTC program provided color guard duties, in addition to placing flags on the graves of more than 1,800 veterans buried at Beal Memorial Cemetery.

Veterans and their family members placed red and white carnations in a wreath as they took time to honor the country’s veterans, both living and passed.

Also participating in this year’s ceremony were military personnel from Great Britain and Australia, who are currently stationed at Eglin Air Force Base. 

In recognition of these international military partners, Reid Soria of Autism Sings, sang both the “Star-Spangled Banner” and Great Britain’s national anthem, “God Save the Queen.”

Here are some photos from the event.

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