WW II Vets to Lead St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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DELRAY BEACH, FL – The annual Delray Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade has long been dedicated to the men and women of emergency services who protect Americans on a daily basis.

For 2016, however, the parade is taking an unprecedented step that is quickly gaining national attention. In partnership with Southeast Florida Honor Flight, more than 60 World War II veterans will lead this year’s parade through the streets of Delray Beach, the largest such gathering of its kind.

“We have had the pleasure of hosting uniformed personnel from all over the country and around the world each year,” said retired Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Capt. John Fischer. “But this year is extra special with so many true American heroes from the Greatest Generation leading the way. We can’t thank Honor Flight enough for bringing these veterans to Delray Beach, and we hope to have our biggest crowd ever to properly honor these heroes.”

Many of the WWII veterans plan to roll through the parade route in wheel chairs, escorted by uniformed police, firefighters, and rescue personnel. The local FEMA-supported Urban Search & Rescue teams, FLTF-1 and FLTF-2, will assist with its mobile medical unit and air-conditioned rest areas, if needed. The parade is slated for March 12.

Southeast Florida Honor Flight, a part of the Honor Flight Network, was formed in 2008 to fly WWII veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the nation’s memorials and monuments.

The Delray Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade was started in 1968 and has grown to be the Southeast’s premier parade. In 2010, organizers changed the parade theme to pay tribute to the emergency services community, including firefighters, police, and paramedics.

Uniformed emergency service personnel from across the United States and the world have been honored through the years, with personnel from Belgium, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and France being recognized for their service. Other civic, non-profit, educational, and social groups also are a part of the parade.

For a list of emergency personnel who have participated in the past, log on to http://stpatrickparade.com/communities-agencies-represented/. For more information on the parade, visit www.stpatrickparade.com.