PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Residents gathered at Aaron Bessant Park Monday afternoon for Panama City Beach’s annual Memorial Day ceremony.
The event is sponsored each year by local veterans’ groups.
Remembering those who gave their lives for the freedom of the American people is essential for the Memorial Day holiday.
Those who attended the Panama City Beach memorial service were greeted with smiles and a poppy flower.
“That’s the poppy. Well, if we got one down here that came about after the world, one all the graveyards that they set up in Europe I’m trying to think of the name of the country out the top of my head. But in those called Flanders fields, the poppies start growing up around all the graves. So that became a symbol of all the war, lost the red poppies,” said U.S. Army Veteran Mark Arnold.
The sound of bagpipes echoed across the event as attendees bowed their heads to remember the fallen.
“Well, I’m just here to celebrate the veterans that have died for us and the enlisted. They’re still alive. They’re awesome. They’re all my heroes,” said attendee James Sprandel.
The event service was sponsored by the Veterans for Foreign Wars organization and the American Legion.
Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez served as a guest speaker for the event.
“That our freedoms are now protected just as the balanced event defenders of Gonzalez, we stand ready to stand, ready to protect our rights, our liberties, and our way of life. And we will fiercely band our nation and our fierce values with unwavering domination,” said Talamantez.
Talamantez is a veteran himself who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Memorial Day is a one-day celebration, however, Mark Arnold believes that young kids should learn more about the veterans.
“These events, especially the youth with kids. Bring your kids out because it’s important that they learn from us. These guys are their real history, not what people teach in your books. That’s living history. There’s still a few, very few World War Two vets left,” said Arnold.