'Women in the military': A special tribute at the Marco Island Veterans Day ceremony


‘Women in the Military’ will be the theme of the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Marco Island Veterans Community Park, which will be sponsored by American Legion Post #404.

Female soldier in front of U.S. flag

Set for 11 a.m., Monday, Nov. 12, the ceremony honoring America’s service men and women will include a special tribute to female veterans, highlighted by a special City of Marco Island Proclamation recognizing their service, as well as:

  • A keynote speech by State Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples), who represents Collier and Hendry counties, and part of Lee County.
  • A speech by District One Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala.
  • A review of the history of women in the military will be presented by Marco Island City Councilwoman and U.S. Army veteran Charlette Roman.
  • Marco Island City Councilman, Marine Corps veteran and American Legion Post #404 member Joe Batte will read a proclamation from the City designating this Veterans Day as honoring women in the military.
  • An opening prayer by American Legion member and U.S. Army veteran Lee Ross.
  • POW-MIA ceremony led by Post 404 Commander and Vietnam-era vet Lee Rubenstein, and past commander and Korean War-era vet Bill Horton. The POW-MIA flag will be carried by Post #404 member Harry Weathers.
  • A reading of the names of Marco veterans who have passed away over the last year by Civil Air Patrol commander and U.S. Army veteran Bob Boone.
  • The Memorial Bell will be rung by WWII veteran Charlie Purple.

The ceremony will be a blended affair involving the three island military organizations: American Legion Post #404, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla #95 and Marco Island’s Civil Air Patrol squadron.

The veterans' Color Guard and MIPD Honor Guard present the colors on Nov. 11, 2017. Marco Island commemorated Veterans Day Saturday at Veterans' Community Park, with speeches, flags and patriotic music.

Representatives of each organization will comprise a color guard bearing the flags of the three military groups, while the American flag will be carried by members of the city’s police and fire-rescue departments.

The ceremony will also include:

  • The Pledge of Allegiance led by WWII veteran Bob Sargeant.
  • “The National Anthem” and “Proud to be an American” sung by Sarah Hideka, of Naples, accompanied by the Marco Island Charter Middle School Choral Group, followed by a fly-over by the Civil Air Patrol squadron in a World War II era plane.
  • Keith Dameron, CEO of Step Smart Collier senior fall prevention group will serve as master of ceremonies.
  • “Taps” will be echoed by Marco veteran and Director of Music at Marco Lutheran Church, Greg Greusel.

A special, covered seating area for all veterans and special VIP seating for women in the military veterans and their spouses.

Dianne M. Boland, the American Legion’s newly elected department commander for the state of Florida said she believes this will be the first time a Veterans Day celebration has singled out female veterans for special recognition in Florida. Boland is the first women to hold the top position in the state’s American Legion organization.

A contingent of Army nurses from WWII and the Korean War are expected to attend the ceremony, as are female veterans who are members of the Collier County Sheriff’s Department.

Vietnam War-era veterans were honored at the 2016 Veterans Day ceremony and Korean War-era vets were honored at last year’s ceremony.

Lee Rubenstein, Commander of American Legion Post #404 and chairman of the Veterans Day Committee said, “Today, in a very special way, we honor the most special people that have been part of our military since the beginning. It’s our honor to dedicate the entire program to women in the military. Without them, the world would be a different place. It’s long overdue that we honor these women who have a special place in history.”

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, Marco Island.