By Tamas Mondovics

Hillsborough County Consumer and Veterans Services have once again joined forces with the Veterans Council of Hillsborough County to host the 53rd annual Veterans Day Tribute held on Saturday, November 1.

The free event, which began at 11 a.m., enjoyed a beautiful autumn morning with pleasant temperatures and saw one of the largest crowd of attendees and participants at Veterans Memorial Park and LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum, 3602 U.S. Hwy. 301 N. in Tampa.

A tribute to remember those lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks was also included since the memorial had to be postponed due to Hurricane Irma.

Master of Ceremonies, Walt Raysick, of the Veterans Council of Hillsborough County welcomed all present and introduced the ceremony with the Presentation of the Colors by the Leto High School, Navy JROTC.

“This tribute truly honors our veterans and the presence of such a large crowd attests to its importance,” Raysick said.

Following the national anthem, the pledge of allegiance and the invocation, the theme ‘Honoring America’s Veterans,’ the event featured a variety of speakers and presentations, including
Col. Jim Waurishuk, USAF, Retired presented the 9/11 tribute.

Col. S. Troy Pananon, Vice Commander, 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill Air Force was chosen as guest speaker.

Drill performances and patriotic recitations from local high schools added to the observance roster along with the POW/MIA Missing Man Ceremony, rifle salute, and taps as well as Veterans Council Awards.

As a special honor, the Veterans Day National Committee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs named Hillsborough County’s Veterans Memorial Park and LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum to its official list of Regional Veterans Day Sites.

County officials explained that the designation recognizes select observances throughout the country that represent fitting tributes to America’s heroes, and that can serve as models for other communities to follow in planning their own events.

For more information about the 53rd annual Veterans Day Tribute or Veterans Memorial Park, visit, or call 744-5349.

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