ANNA MARIA – Veterans, an honor guard, marching bands, local businesses and organizations – including a group of youngsters from The Center of Anna Maria Island, a pirate ship, police boats, police vehicles, a fire truck, a dump truck, old trucks and cars, motorcycles, a mounted patrol and more made their way down Pine Avenue on Monday during the third annual Old Soldiers & Sailors Parade.
Hosted by the city of Anna Maria and celebrating Veterans Day, this year’s parade featured the Lakewood High School, Manatee High School and Southeast High School marching bands.
The musical duo Brigid’s Cross also performed as they traveled down the parade route on a trailer filled with folks from the Bridge Tender Inn.
The parade route began at the Gulf Drive intersection and ended at City Pier Park, where the annual post-parade Veterans Day ceremonies took place. During the ceremony, Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy welcomed the visiting elected officials who hold city, county and state offices. After the invocation, the honor guard presented the colors and stood at the base of the City Pier Park flagpole while the Lakewood Ranch High School Band played the national anthem, followed by a trumpeter from the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra playing “Taps.”
Murphy asked the spouses and significant others of those who served to come forward and be recognized. He then asked the attending veterans to come forward according to the branch of the military branch they served in.
“This is their day, Veterans Day,” said Murphy, a veteran himself. The band then played a rousing rendition of John Phillip Sousa’s “King Cotton” and a song from the 60s called “The Horse” that featured the trombone section standing front and center.
After the ceremony, many folks headed over to the Anna Maria Island Historical Museum for a free ice cream social where AMI Historical Society board members scooped out bowls of chocolate and vanilla ice cream.