ORLANDO, Fla (FNN NEWS) – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and his Veterans Advisory Council will honor the courageous men and women of the armed forces at the 18th annual City of Orlando Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, November 11, 2017, in Downtown Orlando.
This year’s parade will open with a tribute to those who have fought for our country and defended our freedom, led by Mayor Dyer and local veterans. The parade’s theme is “Healing the Invisible Wounds of War,” placing a special focus on the mental and emotional well being of veterans and their families.
The parade will consist of a variety of participants including men and women from more than 50 Central Florida veteran organizations, active-duty military, high school JROTCs and the UCF AFROTC. Bands include the Lake Nona High School Band, Jones High School Marching Tigers, the Lake Highland Preparatory School band and The Marching Royals from The First Academy. Rob Riggle, a former U.S. Marine Corps Reserve officer and actor known for his roles in The Hangover, Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show and 21 Jump Street will ride in the parade with Ace Café Orlando’s entry.
Five grand marshals, all of whom have contributed to mental health causes for veterans by providing counseling services or serving on boards for non-profit veteran counseling organizations, will lead the parade:
- Dr. Sandra Neer served as Project Coordinator for the Trauma Management Therapy Program for veterans at UCF.
- Sergeant Major Raymond Chandler was sworn in as the 14th Sergeant of the U.S. Army in March 2011. He served 34 years in every enlisted leadership position before his retirement from military service in 2015.
- Colonel Ann Johnson served for 34 years in the U.S. Army as a Behavioral Science Specialist. She currently works with the UCF Psychology Anxiety and Trauma Department.
- Major General Bill Bond retired in November 2013 after 33 years as an Air Defense Officer for the U.S. Army and is now on the Board of Directors for the Camaraderie Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides mental health counseling to veterans and their families.
- Major General Michael Repass served as a Special Forces Officer for 30 years and received multiple awards including two Army Distinguished Service Medals, two Bronze Stars and five Army Commendation Medals.
ATTENDEE PARKING AND TRAVEL INFORMATION:
Parade spectators should utilize the Central Garage (55 West Central Boulevard) and the Library Garage (112 East Central Boulevard via Pine Street) for parking.
Road closures associated with parade staging will run from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Orange Avenue, Amelia Street, West Concord Street, Livingston Street and Robinson Street. Closures along the parade route will run from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Central Boulevard and Rosalind Avenue.
For information on parking and road closures related to the parade, visit CityofOrlando.net/VeteransParade.