Korean War-era Vets to receive a Marco Island welcome home at Veterans Day Ceremony

Don Manley
Special to the Eagle

“Welcome Home to Korean War-era Veterans” will be the theme of the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Community Park, which will be sponsored by American Legion Post 404 and the City of Marco Island.

Set for 11 a.m., Nov. 11, the ceremony honoring America’s service men and women will include a special tribute to Korean War-era veterans highlighted by a special City of Marco Island proclamation recognizing all Korean War-era veterans.  

A keynote speech by Rep. Francis Rooney III (R-Naples), along with speeches by Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala and retired U.S. Army Col. Charlotte Roman, who is a member of Marco Island City Council.

File 2016: A U.S. flag flies from the fire department's tower truck. Hundreds gathered at Veterans Community Park on Marco Island for Veterans Day.

A review of the Korean War’s history by Bill Duncan, chaplain of American Legion Post # 404 and a Vietnam War Navy veteran.

An opening prayer will be offered by Charlie Purple, a U.S. Navy Seabee during World War II and a closing prayer by Mike Harris, chaplain of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla # 95, Marco Island.

A POW-MIA ceremony led by the past commander of Marco Island’s American Legion and VFW posts, Lee Rubenstein, and Bill Horton, commander American Legion Post 404.

There will also be a reading of the names of Marco veterans who have passed away over the last year by VFW Post 6370.

The ceremony will again be a blended affair involving all four of the island’s military organizations: American Legion Post 404, VFW Post 6370, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla #95 and Marco Island’s Civil Air Patrol squadron. Representatives of each organization will comprise a color guard bearing the flags of the four military groups, while the American flag will be carried by members of the city’s police and fire-rescue departments. The color guard will be led by U.S. Marine veteran Doug Bartlett, commander of the Marco Island Coast Guard Auxiliary.


The ceremony will also include:


The Pledge of Allegiance led by Cub Scout Pack # 234, Marco Island.

“The National Anthem” and “America the Beautiful” sung by Susan Doyle, of Naples, followed by a fly-over by the Civil Air Patrol squadron in a World War II era plane.


Keith Dameron, vice president and business development officer for Iberia Bank, Collier County, serving as master of ceremonies.


Patriotic music provided by DJ Steve Reynolds and the playing of “Taps” by Greg Gruesel of Marco Island Lutheran Church.


A special, covered seating area for all veterans and special VIP seating for the Korean War-era vets and their spouses will be provided.

The City of Marco Island will cover the cost for renting the tents and chairs that will be used for the ceremony, which, in the past, had been funded by the island’s veterans groups through public donations. Iberia Bank will underwrite all other expenses for the ceremony.

Vietnam War-era veterans were honored at the 2016 Veterans Day ceremony. This year’s event will honor the sacrifices of vets who served from January of 1950 to June of 1955, the Federal Government’s timeframe for the Korean War-era.

“The Korean War is sometimes called the forgotten war,” notes Lee Rubenstein, past commander of Marco’s American Legion and the VFW posts. “No truce was ever signed and even today, the Korean peninsula is once again on the verge of North Korea trying to ignite another war. We remember and honor all veterans from all years. It’s especially important now as our Korean veterans are aging and they deserve to be thanked for their service 57 years later, Marco Island style.”

A large crowd is expected, so please arrive early. Bring lawn chairs, as seating is limited. Veterans Community Park is located at 901 Park Ave.