More than 1,000 students from public schools across Marion County will participate in Marion County’s official Veterans Day Program on Monday, Nov. 11. This marks the 13th year in a row Marion County Public Schools has presented the community’s official Veterans Day ceremony.
The event takes place at the Ocala/Marion County Veterans Memorial Park (SE Ft. King Street and SE 25 Avenue, Ocala) at 11 a.m. and is the official Veterans Day Ceremony for the park. Pre-ceremony entertainment starts at 10:30 a.m.
The public is encouraged to attend the ceremony and arrive early due to parking concerns. Limited bleacher seating is available, and those attending are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Heidi Maier begins the ceremony. Music will be provided by students representing Maplewood and Shady Hill Elementary Schools along with Forest High School’s jazz band and chorus. Students from Hillcrest School will lead the Pledge of Allegiance while students from Hammett Bowen Jr. Elementary, named for Marion County’s Medal of Honor recipient, will also recognize veterans for their service with spoken essays.
The Ocala Police Department’s Honor Guard will lead the Parade of Colors and post for the ceremony. Junior ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) units from Belleview, Dunnellon, Forest, Lake Weir, North Marion, Vanguard and West Port High Schools will participate along with cadets from Francis Marion Military Academy. The Hammett Bowen Jr. Elementary color guard will take part as well. Local families who have lost loved ones to military service will present a memorial wreath in their honor.
Marion County veterans will provide a 21-gun military salute, and pilots from the Sky Dynamics Warbirds will fly over the park in military formation. Marion County Veterans Services, Marion County Veterans Council, Marion County Fire-Rescue, Marion County Parks and Recreation, Ocala Fire Rescue, and the City of Ocala Parks and Recreation will also assist with the event.