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Before the parade, veterans, officials, and advocates honored veterans together

Tom Flanigan
WFSU Public Media
Local elected officials including Leon County Commissioners Brian Welch, Jimbo Jackson, Nick Maddox, and Rick Minor, Tallahassee City Commissioner Curtis Richardson, and Sheriff Walt McNeil were dishing out breakfast for the veterans gathered outside the Sauls-Bridges American Legion Post 13.

Tallahassee area veterans were treated to an early breakfast yesterday at Lake Ella's American Legion Post. The event was a lead-in to the community's Veterans' Day Parade.

Post Commander Val Frailey was on hand to welcome incoming veterans and direct them to the serving line.

"Well, this is teamed-up with Leon County and their 'Welcome Home' project. We're trying to do the observation in the way we need to to make sure folks are happy to come out and be part of the event."

Leon County Commissioner Rick Minor, one of several Leon County officials to attend the event, read an official proclamation recognizing the community's vets.

Tallahassee Veteran's Day Parade 2021
Patrick Sternad
WFSU Public Media
The Veteran's Day parade marched on in front of the old capitol on November 11, 2021. The festivities were canceled in 2020.

"Leon County is home to more than 18,000 veterans of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard."

Several of those vets are now part of a special group helping lay to rest their fallen comrades at the Tallahassee National Cemetery. The cemetery's director Ray Miller also spoke. "I would like the Big Bend Honor Guard to please stand if you would..." he announced as the audience packed into the Legion Hall burst into applause and cheers.

The local observance was also a chance to emphasize that many military veterans have fallen on rough times. Lew Wilson, head of the Florida Veterans Foundation, is focused on helping those vets whose lives have gone off track.

"They call us on our hotline, our emergency crisis hotline, and we intercede in any way we can. We refer them to proper agencies or step in when we need to, financially especially. If they're getting evicted, all of these things can lead to emergency situations that we don't want them to get to."

Many of those attending the breakfast then took part in the Veterans' Day Parade in downtown Tallahassee. The parade was canceled last year because of the pandemic.