(Miami-Dade County, FL) --
Miami-Dade County residents showed their overwhelming gratitude to all who have served in Vietnam and all wars by turning out in large numbers for last Friday’s Miami-Dade County Golden Veterans Parade – 50th Anniversary Commemoration presented by Hershey’s. More than 3,000 people – including representatives from local sports teams and various public officials including County Commission Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa and County Commissioners Esteban Bovo Jr., Audrey Edmonson, Javier Souto and Xavier Suarez – took part in the Nov. 8 tribute, which featured a patriotic parade through downtown Miami followed by a commemorative ceremony and community concert in Bayfront Park that featured Grand Funk Railroad, Willy Chirino and the 13th Army Band of the Florida National Guard.
“I was deeply moved by the tremendous show of love and appreciation for all the brave men and women who have served to defend this nation,” said County Commissioner José “Pepe” Diaz, Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Military Affairs Board, which organized the parade. “The awesome turnout demonstrated beyond any doubt that our veterans’ sacrifices have not and will not be forgotten.”
Commissioner Diaz also thanked the event’s sponsors, including Hershey’s, Clear Channel, Comcast, the Miami DDA, Baptist Health South Florida, South Florida Ford, American Airlines, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Miami-Dade Public Schools, Resorts World Miami, the University of Miami, Florida International University, the Miami Dolphins, the Miami Heat, the Miami Marlins, World Wrestling Entertainment, CBS 4, My33, El Nuevo Herald, The Miami Herald, Actualidad Radio 1020/1040 AM, Telemundo/Channel 51, WTVJ/Channel 6, COZI TV, America Teve, Z 92.3 FM, MundoFox8, Univision 23 and Univision Radio.
The event was inspired by a recent presidential proclamation designating the next 13 years as the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War to honor the more than 3 million servicemen and women who served during more than a decade of combat in Southeast Asia.
To coincide with the parade, Hershey’s also sponsored a poster contest among Miami-Dade high school seniors on the theme of honoring veterans. The winners were as follows:
1st Place - $2,500: Dario Guerra, Mater Academy Middle/High
2nd Place - $1,500: Gaia Rodriguez, Doral Performing Arts & Entertainment Academy
3rd Place - $750: Marlene Cabrera, City of Hialeah Educational Academy
Five Honorable mentions – $250 each:
Aleek Nibbs, North Miami Senior High
Tacia Diaz, Doral Performing Arts & Entertainment Academy
Barbara Alvarado, City of Hialeah Educational Academy
Dana Deggs, Design and Architecture Senior High
Lauren Miranda, Mater Academy Middle/High