has been different since March 2020 and COVID-19 has impacted life in general, for sure. he local Military Officers Association of America
(MOAA) and Board of Directors of the Veterans Council of Indian River County
(VCIRC) decided that this veteran-rich county
recognized all veterans by holding a real, live Veterans Day event just like
every year (with a few modifications).
eight members of the Indian River Chapter of MOAA on the VCIRC board and they voted unanimously to
hold the event on 11 November just like every other year. The three non-MOAA
board members joined them in the unanimous vote and then things began to
First, the board went to the City of Vero Beach who owns
the Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary where the
south county event
takes place and received their permission and assistance with holding the
event. The north county (Sebastian, Florida) also decided to have a Veterans
Day ceremony. MOAA’s Indian River Chapter gave
support to both events by providing a Chapter member as the main keynote
speaker. In most past ceremonies, the speaker
came from outside the county; however, because of restricted travel we looked
inward for speakers. Indian River Chapter members LTC Curtis Holden, USA
(Retired) was chosen as the speaker for the south county Vero Beach event and COL Patricia Ryan, ARNG (Retired) agreed to
be the keynote speaker for the north county (Sebastian) event. Colonel Ryan and
Lieutenant Colonel Holden are both Gulf War veterans who work double duty with
the Veterans Council and the Indian River MOAA Chapter.
River Chapter MOAA members acted as master of
ceremonies, parade and battalion adjutants and still other chapter members
handed out flags, ceremony agenda pamphlets and water. Overall, there was a
noticeable MOAA presence and both events went off successfully while COVID-19 social distance requirements were maintained.
estimated that over 500 residents attended the south county event. Most years
the number exceeds 2,000. Notwithstanding, there
were at least four World War II veterans who were recognized along with many
more veterans , families and residents from Indian River County.
If not for
the efforts of these MOAA officers and other veterans from the Veterans Council
this event would have not been held. World War II veterans, all in later age,
may not have had the opportunity to stand proud and feel the love and
camaraderie an event like this provides.
grateful to the Veterans Council, the Indian River MOAA Chapter, the town and
our residents of Indian River County. We look forward to 2021 Memorial Day and
Veterans Day ceremonies.
COL Patricia Ryan, ARNG (Retired), Treasurer Indian River Chapter
Keynote Speaker Sebastian, Florida Veterans Day Ceremony
LTC Curtis Holden USA (Retired)
Keynote Speaker Vero Beach , Florida Veterans Day Ceremony
LTC Carroll Oates USA (Retired)
Indian River Chapter 1ST Vice President renders a hand salute as Adjutant at the Vero Beach Veterans Day Ceremony