- Posted February 10, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Salute to troops
"Welcome Home Veterans" Miami Welcomes Military Legends
Miami, Florida - On Saturday evening February 9th, 2013 more than 120 Veterans from World War II to the Afghan War and all eras in between were "officially" welcomed back home by the Freedom Veterans of America Foundation(FVA) at the Miami Yacht Club during a stunning event on Watson Island.
Many of the Veterans had been waiting for years to be officially welcomed back with one waiting nearly 7 decades.
Most notable was legendary Tuskegee Army Air Corps airman Mr. Charles F. Flowers who had not seen his due respect from his country for 69 years. . "This is wonderful for me and all the Veterans" said the legend and former Red Tails pilot.
"Many people don't know that women too lost their lives during World War II in what should have been considered combat roles. There were women that lost their lives flying and delivering planes to us."
Pat Santagelo, Public Affairs director for the City of Miami Mayors Office was visibly moved by the event. "This is the greatest thing I've ever been to for Veterans, thank you so much."
Pat's father, also named Pat Santagelo was a World War II Veteran who fought in France. He sang an old French War song when he was spontaneously brought up to the podium and broke into tears during the singing. The entire crowd had tears of joy in their eyes and roared into applause when he was finished.
Another notable guest was Mr. Pasquale A. Russo a Korean War Veteran. His son, Mr Paul Russo is the Miami VA Director and also spoke thanking Veterans and welcoming them home.
Other guest included Lt.Col Antonio Colmenares director of International Services at the Red Cross in Miami and Miami singer-song writer CHROHM who performed the national anthem.
Doctors, lawyers, civil leaders, pageant winners, celebrities of all sorts and of course the honored Veterans rounded out the amazing guest list.
The ceremony was the 1st of hundreds of "Welcome Home Veterans" events to be hosted nationwide by the FVA organization in the next 2 years.
FVA CEO Fermin Jimenez, Board of Director President Manny Fernandez and Chief Operations Officer Ronald C. Cole did an amazing job for the Veterans. Many said it was the best event they had ever been to.
The FVA organization and the Miami Yacht Club have partnered to bring rehabilitation, reintergration and recreational facilities to Veterans and their families for years to come.