Veterans Day is officially Friday, but Pinellas County has scheduled Saturday for its celebration.
Pinellas County Veterans Services is partnering with the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance to pay tribute to veterans and active duty personnel on Nov. 12 at the newly-dedicated Florida Veterans Memorial Plaza at Crest Lake Park, 201 Glenwood Ave. (at Lake Dr. and Gulf-to-Bay) in Clearwater.
The pageantry and full ceremony begin at 10 a.m., followed by lively musical entertainment at 11 a.m. The ceremonial program includes drill team demonstrations, presentation of colors, special guest speakers and special acknowledgment of the U.S. military and veterans.
Residents will have an opportunity to view exhibits and military vehicles. The event is expected to end at 1 p.m. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.
“Together with our community, we are proud to salute our veterans,” said Michael Hill, director of Pinellas County Veterans Services. “We invite our residents to join us as we honor and express our gratitude to our veterans, active duty personnel and Gold Star mothers and families.”
The Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance is a nonprofit organization developed to provide the citizens of Tampa Bay area communities an opportunity to show their appreciation to the veterans of the U.S. military services.
To show appreciation for local veterans and their families, Pinellas County is waiving the daily parking fees at various county parks on Veterans Day. These parks will offer free parking to all visitors: all county boat ramps, Howard Park in Tarpon Springs, Sand Key Park in Clearwater and Fort De Soto Park in Tierra Verde.
Also, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is offering free bus rides Friday to active-duty military and veterans in recognition of Veterans Day.
“We want our veterans to know that we appreciate their service and sacrifice,” said PSTA Chief Executive Officer Brad Miller. “We also want to salute the many veterans who are employed here at PSTA.”
To qualify for a free ride, active-duty military and veterans must present valid identification upon boarding the bus. Acceptable veteran IDs include those issued by the Department of Defense and Veteran Affairs. A veteran designation on a driver’s license, certification of release or discharge from active duty will also be accepted as valid identification.
“We are proud to be able to provide a service to the community that was built on the bravery and sacrifice of our veterans,” Miller said. “Now it’s our turn to provide them with the freedom of being able to get around when they need it.”