Several Veterans Day events across South Mississippi are planned to honor and remember all those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Veterans Day is celebrated annually on Nov. 11.
Here are highlights of some events to check out and salute veterans.
Friday, Nov. 9
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▪ Armed Forces Retirement Home, 1800 Beach Drive, Gulfport, will hold a Veterans Day Ceremony and Open House, starting at 8 a.m. The event is open to the public. AFRH Resident Art Exhibitors will be in the Main Hall and Art Room areas. Residents’ art work and crafts will be available for purchase.
At 8:30 a.m., Patriot Guard motorcycles arrive, followed by helicopter landings. At 9:15 .m., the Gulfport High Band will perform pre-ceremony music. The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m., with keynote speaker Capt. Ron Piret, Commanding Officer NAVO. At 10 a.m., Anniston Elementary fourth-grade students will provide a musical performance.
From 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., tours of the home will be offered every 30 minutes. Meet at the Security Desk. Other demonstrations and displays will be available through 1 p.m.
▪ The 18th annual Jackson County Veterans Day Program has been canceled because of weather.
▪ The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System will hold a Veterans Day Program beginning at 10:50 a.m. at the Biloxi VA Medical Center, Building 17, Recreation Hall. St. Martin High School AFJROTC will present the colors, and the program will include several remarks. Keynote speaker will be Bryan C. Matthews, director of the VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System.
Saturday, Nov. 10
▪ The 18th annual Gulf Coast Veterans Day Parade will roll in Gulfport, starting at 11 a.m. The parade, the largest of its kind in Mississippi, has been held on the Gulf Coast since inception in 2000 with a rotating location each year between the cities of D’Iberville, Biloxi and Gulfport.
This year’s parade will kick off with a massing of colors at U.S. 49 and U.S. 90 in downtown Gulfport and conclude at Jones Park. The parade includes all branches of active military service along with ROTC units from around the state, high school bands, veterans organizations, as well as civic and corporate groups.
Concurrently, a “Red White and Blue Festival” will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Barksdale Pavilion, Jones Park, featuring musical entertainment, food vendors and military static display exhibits. The event salutes all veterans and is free and open to the public.
For the 11th consecutive year in a row, the Department of Veterans Affairs has chosen the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the state’s Regional Site for the celebration of Veterans Day 2018.
▪ Veterans Day Parade, presented by the VFW Post 2880 of Diamondhead, will roll at 1 p.m. from Country Club Circle (lineup begins at noon). The parade will include firetrucks, police, convertibles, golf carts and the Hawk Battalion (the Hancock County High JROTC). The parade will end at City Hall, where a ceremony will be held to honor veterans.
▪ Sean M. Cooley 5K Run, in honor of Master Sgt. Sean Michael Cooley, who was killed in action in February 2005 while deployed with the MSARNG 150th Engineering Battalion. Prior to his deployment, Cooley was a registered nurse with Singing River Health System in the Emergency Department. The run will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Ocean Springs Bridge. Same-day registration, $25, at 7:30 a.m. across from Fort Maurepas Park, Ocean Springs. Proceeds from the run provide nursing scholarships for local students.
Sunday, Nov. 11
▪ Veterans Day. This year marks 100 years since the end of World War I.
▪ The Carnival Association of Long Beach will hold a Veterans’ Day Parade and Festival at the Harper McCaughan Town Green, 301 Jeff Davis Ave., Long Beach. The free festival begins at 11 a.m. and the parade rolls at 2 p.m. Veterans will receive a free lunch and are invited to walk in the parade; spouses and families will pay a nominal fee. Details: Rik Dew at 615-995-6833.
▪ Lest We Forget Remembrance Day Service will be held at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial on the beach in Waveland. The Bay High JROTC will present the colors and Mayor Mike Smith will say a few words at the service. John King will close the ceremony with the sound of “Taps” to commemorate the end of World War I 100 years ago.
Monday, Nov. 12
▪ Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s George County Center will hold a Veterans luncheon at noon. Phi Theta Kappa students will assist the Lucedale Rotary Club in providing lunch for student and staff veterans.
▪ A Fallen Soldier 5K Walk/Run will be held at 4:30 p.m. from the Gregory War Memorial Chapel, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Perkinston campus. Registration begins at 3:45 p.m. This is a noncompetitive event.