Gulfport’s Veteran’s Day parade on Sunday, November 11 at 11 a.m. featured over 30 participants who entertained a street crowd from the library to the Casino on Beach Boulevard and then along Shore Boulevard to the Recreation Center. “To put it into perspective, two percent of Americans put their lives on the line for the other 98 percent,” said Emcee and Vice Mayor Christine Brown. “That’s a big deal. We are lucky to be here to celebrate these great men and women who gave us the freedom that we enjoy.”
U.S. Navy veteran Paul Innis, of Gulfport, plays the bass as part of the New Horizons Band of Gulfport that performed patriotic music in the shadow of the Casino prior to the start of the parade. Innis served in the 1950s and was a radar specialist on a destroyer.
Singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the beginning of the parade were Gulfport’s own Catherine and Ralph Bassett who are both retired from New York City Opera. Ralph is a Navy veteran and served in the Vietnam years as a corpsman, which is an enlisted medical specialist.
The Gulfport Gecko Amalgamated Marching Band is sponsored by the Gulfport Merchants Chamber and is an all-volunteer group of adults who love to march and play in local events. To find out about joining the band, visit their Facebook page.
Toffer Ross, tuba player, marches with the Gulfport Gecko Amalgamated Marching Band. Ross is a co-founder of the group.
Using their own separate battery-powered vehicles, World War II veteran Dave Mottoli, 97, and a canine sidekick entertain the crowd. Mottoli served in the Army and Air Force from 1942 to 1945.
Grand marshal and Vietnam veteran Stone Handy rides in a convertible driven by Jody Robinson who is assisted by her dog Spirit and friend Marcella Ruso, all from Gulfport. Handy served in the Marine Corps from 1966 to 1970 including a tour in Vietnam from 1967 to 68 during the Tet Offensive. He also served in the Coast Guard for 16 years.