Sun ’n Fun is coordinating a day-long series of events and activities designed to recognize our community’s military veterans – with special recognition of those who participated in World War II on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, at Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport (LAL) in Florida.
On Veterans Day, the Sun ’n Fun campus will be filled with activities throughout the day, beginning with a morning 5K race to raise funds for “Wounded Warriors”; a mid-day musical salute to veterans; and an evening 1940s style USO “Hangar Door Canteen” dinner/dance and live auction featuring the “Big Band” sounds of the “Over 55 Band.”
“Sun ’n Fun is proud to recognize all soldiers who have served in our nation’s military, especially those who fought and died to protect the freedoms we enjoy today,” said President John Burton. “We are especially pleased to honor those veterans from World War II whose numbers are declining with the passing of each day. We invite all those who feel – as we do – that these men and women deserve our sincere gratitude and respect to join us Nov. 11 to celebrate Veterans Day with some very special activities.”
The day begins with the 1st Annual “Wounded Warriors” Veterans Day 5K Race/Walk, hosted by the Kiwanis Club of North Lakeland. The event will wind through the Sun ’n Fun site on the southwest corner of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The Start/Finish line will be adjacent to the “Sunset Grill” located in the heart of the campus. All proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“The term ‘Wounded Warriors’ refers to American soldiers who were wounded in combat,” said Roxanne Towner, one of the race organizers and herself a retired United States Air Force Colonel. “Proceeds from this event will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, whose mission is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. By supporting the Wounded Warrior Project, runners help raise awareness and enlist the public’s support for the needs of severely injured service men and women, help severely injured service members aid and assist each other and provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of severely injured service members.”
Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. The actual Race/Walk follows at 8 a.m. Registration (by mail) prior to the race is $20. Registration on the day of the race is $25. For more information on the Wounded Warrior 5K Run/Walk, contact Monica Young (863-815-4710) or Roxanne Towner (863-221-3338).
At mid-day, the Florida Air Museum (FAM) at Sun ’n Fun will be filled with the patriotic sounds and voices of the Kathleen High School Band and Chorus. The free concert will begin at noon and feature familiar songs and music focusing on America’s proud and colorful history in honor of all veterans of military service.
Members of the Central Florida Aerospace Academy (CFAA) Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) will present and retire the American flag as part of the concert. CFAA is located on the Sun ’n Fun campus and is part of Kathleen High School.
The day’s activities will conclude with a salute to all veterans, especially those who served during the Second World War, during a 1940s-themed dinner/dance in Sun ’n Fun’s Hangar A – an aircraft hangar that will be decorated to reflect the “Hangar Door Canteen” socials made famous by the United Service Organization (USO) during the war years. “Big Band” style entertainment will be provided by the “Over 55 Band.”
Activities, which also include a “taste of the 40s” by Terrie Lobb Catering, a live auction, photo opportunities with USO Pin-Up Girls and a “War Bond” 50/50 drawing, get underway at 6:30 p.m. 1940s costumes or military attire are encouraged.
Tickets are available for $75 (general admission) or $65 (for veterans). In recognition of the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II, an additional donation of $25 (or more) will extend free admission to one of our community’s World War II veterans. Net proceeds from the evening benefit the Florida Air Museum and its expanding year-round education programs.
For more information: Sun-n-Fun.org