On Saturday, May 20th, the City of Homestead hosted its 10th annual Military Appreciation Day in Losner Park.

The event ran from 2 to 6 pm, with the formal program kicked off at 3 pm with a flyover performed by 2 F-16s from Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB).

The Homestead Police Department’s Color Guard presented the Colors, LTC Sams of HARB led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Beverley Hodgson sang the National Anthem.

Mayor Losner, Vice Mayor Guzman, Councilwoman Avila and her family, Councilwoman Fairclough-Staggers and her daughter, Councilman Roth, County Commissioner Cohen Higgins with her daughter, and County Commissioner McGhee were all on stage. They all used their time with the microphone to honor and thank current military members, veterans, and military families for their hard work and sacrifices.

With music by the Christopher Satterfield Band and DJ Smooth, food trucks - with the Military Affairs Council providing 300 $10 food vouchers to military members and veterans, Veteran Service Organizations, Army and National Guard recruiters, other vendors, a dance performance by Paramount Dance Studio, and military vehicle displays by the Monroe Marauders and the 50th Regional Support Group, there was plenty to keep the crowd of around 500 engaged.

On the lawn in front of the stage, Homestead Police Department’s K-9 unit put on an educational and entertaining demonstration of what their police dogs can do.

The highlight of the event for many, however, was the chance to handle and try on actual military equipment. Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) brought both free-fall and static line parachutes, communications gear, helmets with night vision devices, weapons, rucksacks, and vests.

HARB Security Forces brought riot control gear, bullet resistant shield and door breaching equipment. 482nd Fighter Wing showed off a flight helmet and HRBS’s Chemical Biological Radiation and Nuclear defense element had chemical protective suits and gas masks.

Homestead Special Forces Veteran Ron Mongole has been a part of all ten of Homestead’s Military Appreciation Days.

Ron, who currently serves as SOCSOUTH Honorary Civilian Commander, told the News Leader, “The SOCSOUTH tent has been busy with great interaction between both kids and adults and our military personnel. Putting on the equipment and handling the weapons gives folks a little view and an appreciation of what their military does.”

This opportunity to both show Homestead’s appreciation for the Military and to better acquaint and educate the citizens of the City about the Military makes this annual event a truly important one.

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