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Cape to honor veterans with parade

November 8, 2018
By CJ HADDAD ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Veterans Day is a special time to reflect on all of the men and women who have served our country across all spectrums of the United States Armed Forces, and to celebrate and commemorate their sacrifice to ensure the freedoms we have today as Americans.

The city of Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Department will be putting on its annual Veterans Day Parade on Sunday, Nov 11, beginning at 2 p.m.

The route starts on Del Prado Boulevard and Cape Coral Parkway, marching west on the eastbound lanes to Chester Street.

"Cape Coral and all of Southwest Florida has a regard and holds our veterans near and dear to our hearts," said Linda Biondi, who has been involved in putting on the event for over a decade. "They are the reason that we are free. They are the reason that our borders are safe and they have dedicated their years of service to protect and defend our country. That's why we celebrate these men and women. Cape Coral is a Purple Heart City, and that makes it even more special to those of us who live here to celebrate and honor them."

Groups participating include the VFW, American Legion, The Vietnam Brotherhood, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, JROTC programs from various schools in Cape Coral, the U.S. Army, The Cape Coral Historical Society, several car clubs and other organizations.

This year's Grand Marshall will be retired Marine Sgt. George Colom, a Korean War veteran.

"It'd be an honor," Colom said when Todd King of the Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Department asked him to be grand marshall. "You're representing the city as a veteran, and we have a lot of veterans down here. I was really pleased."

Colom, a spry 88 years old, has marched in past Veterans Day Parades and is involved in many city initiatives involving veterans including the Iwo Jima monument restoration team, the Marine Core League, volunteering at the SWFL Military Museum & Library and more.

He had seen it all during his time in Korea, being right in the heart of the action, often taking fire and returning fire, having to protect countless critical outposts.

He remembers laughing and joking with the comrades over anything they could amuse themselves with, but also remembers IEDs and bullets zooming past, one even striking a fellow soldier's helmet, that thankfully stopped the bullet.

As the years passed once back in the United States, Colom remarked that he often was thanked by Koreans for his services, one man even fighting back tears.

"'I wanted to thank you, you saved our country,'" Colom recounts one man telling him at the Korean War Monument in Washington D.C.

"It makes me feel pretty good," he said. "We did the right thing coming to their aid. We helped them get on their feet. And I feel proud."

Colom has four children, two boys and two girls, and three of them have served their country, just like dad.

"It's pretty neat. I didn't encourage them to go out at all. My youngest wanted to be a Marine since he was 8 years-old," he said.

He is appreciative of the veteran presence in Southwest Florida, as over 60,000 vets call Lee County home, and is encouraged by the reception from the community.

"It plays a big role in the community here. People down here support the veterans," said Colom.

The Korean War has been dubbed, "The Forgotten War," so Colom is glad to see that military servicemen and women are getting recognition.

That recognition will come to a head as he will lead the charge for his fellow brothers and sisters down Cape Coral Parkway.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj



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