Tallahassee honors veterans with annual parade

Children enjoying the Veterans Day parade. Photo courtesy: Beyla Walker

Hundreds of people lined up along South Monroe Street Thursday morning to kick off Veterans Day.

Tallahassee’s annual Veterans Day parade was filled with music, trailer floats and a whole bunch of proud American spirit.

Even the children were able to take part in the celebration; some were waving on floats while others waved flags on the sidelines.

Filled with that same spirit, adults expressed their gratitude for veterans and excitement for the celebration.

This celebration holds a special place in Aline Pla’s heart.

“I come every year to honor members of my family who were once in the military,” Pla said.

The retired educator has many family members who served in the Army, including her father, brother and sister. Her son is a Marine.

She was happy to be back after the parade was canceled last year due to COVID-19.

Along with the hundreds of veterans’ families celebrating this special day, Nya Cummings was one of them.

“Even if [veterans] went the entire year without a reminder that they are appreciated, this day arrives, taps them on the shoulder, and gifts them that reassurance,” Cummings said. “I am forever thankful for all of our current and former soldiers.”

While attendees were on the sidelines, local high school bands such as the Godby High School Cougar band and Lincoln High’s Trojan band marched down the street playing tunes that had the crowd in good spirits.

To complement the instrument players, baton twirlers and dancers performed simple choreographed routines that lit up the parade.

Of course, the high school marching bands were not alone: Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 made an appearance along with the Florida State University Marching Chiefs, who played “God Bless America.”

The parade also consisted of Gold Star families lined up one after the other in decked out jeeps. These are the families whose loved ones died in the line of duty.

FAMU nursing student Shemariah Bennet was overjoyed when she saw them.

“It’s truly amazing to see the families smiling after going through something so tragic,” Bennet said. “It reminds me never to complain, and to love on my people while they are still here.”

Bennet also mentioned how she looks for ways to commemorate the day every year and was glad she stumbled upon the parade.

Parade goers said they are looking forward to celebrating this day again next year.