Growing up, I remember singing military hymns during long car rides on family vacations. My dad was in the Navy and we knew all the words to Anchors Aweigh and Eternal Father. We even sang the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force anthems while plugging away in the backseat of our beach wagon.
Wednesday’s Veterans Day ceremony at the Sanibel City Hall brought back old memories as I sang all of these anthems with my youngest daughter Abby, my assistant Trish and Tiffany our marketing guru. The patriotic music led by the Big Arts Concert Band is one of my favorite parts of the Veterans Day program. For those of you who didn’t know, I love to sing and take advantage of any opportunity to do so!
Every year, for as long as I can remember, the City of Sanibel hosts this special program in honor of our Veterans, many of which who attend are full-time or part-time island residents. It’s great to see the Sanibel community take the time out to recognize and thank these heroes who not only have served our country, but also now serve in our community.
Hats off to Fred Bondurant and the Lee Coast Chapter Military Officers Association of America for hosting a great program this year. From the raising of the flag with the Pack 140 Cub Scouts, to Mayor Ruane’s remarks, the ceremony was a great collaboration of events to honor those who served. Trish and Tiffany especially enjoyed the 4th graders who got up and read their winning essays about why Veterans Day is an important holiday to them. They also enjoyed hearing the war stories and remembrances from veterans during the open mic session of the program.
In recent years, the ceremony has included a special dedication to one of Sanibel’s veterans by inviting them to give the Veterans Day Ceremony Address. This year, we heard from Ed Sieber, Sanibel Island resident and a WWII Navy Veteran. He shared with us his fascinating story of serving as a dive bomber pilot in WWII. The many hours of training and harsh physical conditions of the job were moving and inspiring to hear. It was a perfect reminder of how greatly our history has been effected from the courage of men like Ed Sieber and the many other veterans across the country.
This year’s ceremony was a great way to salute our nation’s veterans and fun experience for the girls. If you are here next November the 11th, I highly recommend you head to City Hall to partake in this island tradition of Veterans Day on Sanibel.