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Veterans Day 2020 amid the COVID Pandemic – Indian River County, Florida

Dateline: 11/11/2020

Everything 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). 

There are 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 happen.

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.

Other Indian 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.

It is 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.

We are 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

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

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Indian River Chapter MOAA
P.O. BOX 644047
Vero Beach, FL 32964-4047
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