Orange County honors ‘selfless service’ of veterans in annual ceremony

Orlando hosts Veterans Day parade Saturday

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County celebrates Veterans Day by honoring those who served in an annual ceremony.

Friday’s Veterans Day ceremony was held at the Orange County’s Commission building with the goal of simply saying “thank you for your service” to those brave men and women.

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“No matter what branch, rank or duty assignment, we celebrate our freedom because of your collective service,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

Demings says more than 72,000 veterans live in the county, and since 2019 more than 7,000 veterans per year have moved to the area.

The people behind those numbers, Demings says, is why the county will continue to honor those brave men and women.

“Let me also say thank you for the more than 700 Orange County employees that are either veterans or active-duty military,” said Demings.

While many in Central Florida are still recovering from Hurricane Nicole along the coast, those who attended say it’s important to take time to reflect.

“It’s bittersweet seeing that we came out of a storm a couple of months ago and people are still recovering to today where some people did receive damages,” said 1SG (Retired) Daila Espeut-Jones with Orange County Mayor’s Advisory Council.

“If we fail to remember what that cost of freedom is then we will cease to be the land of the free and the home of the brave,” said Col. Michael Peeler, commander of the Air Force ROTC program at UCF.

Outside the ceremony, you can see the city of Orlando preparing for Saturday’s Veterans Day parade.

Flags and signs were seen Friday lining the street.

Espeut-Jones, the host of Orange County’s ceremony, says as a veteran she feels the love but says like most veterans, she is just happy to serve.

“Most veterans will tell you they do not want the recognition whatsoever because they served and they’re proud of that. They do not want to show selfish service, they only want to provide selfless service,” said Espeut-Jones.

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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.