Annual downtown parade honors veterans

Published On: Nov 09 2013 12:14:01 PM EST
ORLANDO, Fla. -

Mayor Buddy Dyer invited Central Florida residents and visitors to join him and his Veterans Advisory Council honoring the courageous men and women of our armed forces at the 14th annual Orlando Veterans Day Parade on Saturday.

The parade kicked off with a tribute to those who have fought for our country and defended our freedom led by Mayor Dyer and local veterans.

This year, the parade paid tribute to the Red Tail Pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen.

The 332nd Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Group, known as the Red Tails, were the first African American Air Corps in World War II. and were considered an elite group of fighter pilots that were sent to various bases in Europe and earned an impressive combat record as flying escorts for the United States bombers.

Four surviving Red Tail pilots were this year's grand marshals for the parade:  Major Ralph Turner, Colonel Charles McGee, Lieutenant Colonel Leo Gray and Lieutenant Colonel Hiram Mann.  

Thousands lined the streets of downtown Orlando to honor service men and women with Orlando Fire, Orlando police, Orange County Fire Rescue, veteran's groups and many high school marching bands.

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