CALLAWAY, Fla. (WMBB) — The City of Callaway usually sponsors a Veteran’s Day parade and community gathering, but this year’s celebration was a little different. 

Callaway’s Salute to Veterans Celebration on Friday was in place of their annual Veterans Day parade. Due to construction on Cherry Street, officials decided holding an event was a better option. 

“We made the decision to do an event rather than to do the parade,” said Callaway Leisure Services Director Tim Legare. “We didn’t have another route that was practical. So we decided to do an event here at the Callaway Recreation Complex.”

During Friday’s event at the Callaway Recreation Complex, the city recognized former Air Force Tech Sergeant and City Commissioner George Smith as Honorary Master of Ceremonies. Smith was first stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base in 1953. His military career took him all over the world, including Korea, and one tour in Vietnam in 1966. Smith says he celebrates Veterans Day for his friends that didn’t make it back home.

“I lost a lot of friends and I have to celebrate this Veterans Day because they died, and you know the saying all gave some, some gave all,” said Smith. “There are a lot of people in Bay County that excelled in the military.”

Callaway officials held the event to say thank you to all local veterans. 

“It’s important to honor our veterans and the sacrifices they make to protect our country, especially with where we live adjacent to Tyndall Air Force Base and the Navy base on Panama City Beach,” said Legare. “We have a lot of veterans, a very strong veteran community.”

Callaway is also memorializing veterans through their veteran’s wall. You can buy a brick in honor of a veteran to be included in the wall that will be built at Veterans Park.