Beach Boulevard and Shore Boulevard were packed Sunday, November 10, during Gulfport’s 2019 Heroes Weekend veteran’s parade. Folks gathered on every corner, balcony and rooftop to get the best view of the city’s and nation’s heroes and their supporters as they paraded by.
Former New York City Opera singers Catherine and Ralph Bassett sang the National Anthem on the steps of the Gulfport Casino Ballroom at the start of the parade. Vice Mayor Paul Ray, an Army veteran, emceed the parade proceedings.
Community groups flashed their smiles and waved their flags in honor of veterans. City Councilmembers were among the parade participants, including Councilmember Christine Brown held two flags throughout the day – one in honor of her sister Lisa, who served 24 years in the Coast Guard; the other honored her father, who served 24 years in the Navy. Councilmember Michael Fridovich, a Vietnam veteran, handed out “Proud of Our Troops” bracelets to the crowd.
Council member Dan Liedtke walked in the parade with VETSports, a national organization with 25 chapters across the country.
“VETSports was founded in 2012 by three combat-wounded veterans,” said Liedtke. “The organization is to help veterans rehabilitate through sports and community involvement.”