LEESBURG – On Saturday, May 19, the City of Leesburg will host several events, in conjunction with its Armed Forces Day Celebration, a day-long tribute to members of America’s military. The festivities will get under-way at 10 a.m. with the Armed Forces Day Parade, which will begin at 9th Street and conclude at Fountain Lake Park.
At noon, the dedication of the new, 2,800-square-foot Veterans Memorial at Fountain Lake Park will be held. The names of more than 7,500 veterans have been inscribed on its granite walls and all veterans (living or deceased, with honorable discharges) from Lake, Sumter and Marion counties are eligible for inclusion. There is a $35 engraving fee, and individuals and organizations may also purchase a brick with an inscription of their choice for $60.
Also, members of Rolling Thunder, a national organization whose goal is to educate the public about American prisoners of war (POWs) and the missing in action (MIAs), will be carrying its “Flame of Freedom®” as part of the group’s 25th Annual Ride for Freedom events on Memorial Day weekend. This is the first time the “Flame of Freedom®” will be displayed in Florida.
At 2 p.m., Rolling Thunder chapter officers will present a “Missing Man Table Ceremony” in the Towne Square, during which the “Flame of Freedom®” will be delivered to a table with six empty chairs, representing missing men and women from each of the five services (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard) and civilians.
In addition, other veterans’ groups also will have informational booths in Towne Square. Visitors to downtown will be able to enjoy the Saturday Morning Market, various street vendors and numerous downtown restaurants and stores.
The Armed Forces Day Celebration is supported by the Leesburg Partnership, the City of Leesburg, Rolling Thunder, Veterans Memorial at Fountain Park, Inc., Budweiser and the Lake County Office of Economic Development & Tourism.
For more information about the Armed Forces Day Celebration, call the Leesburg Partnership at 352-365-0053, or visit armedforcesday.leesburgpartnership.com.