Bay County hosts Veterans Day Parade

Edward K. Pearson

A motorcycle group carries American flags during an open funeral service for U.S. Army veteran Edward K. Pearson Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, at the Sarasota National Cemetary in Sarasota, Fla. Pearson has no family so his funeral home sent out a request on social media for the public to attend the service. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Hundreds of people lined Harrison Avenue as Bay County honored those who put their lives on the line for our freedoms.

“Nobody does it better than Bay County does,” said Colonel Brian Laidlaw.

With around 22 thousand veterans in Bay County, it’s no wonder it’s considered a military community.

“The national average for vets in most communities is 7 percent, but here in Bay County its 12 percent,” said Col. Laidlaw.

The parade featured several high school bands, veterans from all branches of the military and local businesses.

Colonel Brian Laidlaw of Tyndall Air Force Base says veterans can teach us so much through their life experiences.

“It really was great, were not going to have them around forever and I think it’s important to one, tell them how much we appreciate what it is they’ve done, but at the same time I think it’s also important to do a lot of listening to the stories they have to tell because they really do have a lot to teach all of us,” said Col. Laidlaw.

Performer in the ceremony, Alex Moody, has a strong military background in his family.

“It’s really important to me, it’s why we’re here, we wouldn’t have this if it weren’t for them,” said Moody.

Many veterans contribute their success to their families.

“Military families are extremely important for what we do and I think they are a key to our readiness and even our war fighting capabilities,” said Col. Laidlaw.

It’s a day that brings out strong emotions for many.

“I think it’s everything, they gave us everything, a lot of them gave up everything,” said Moody.

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