Veterans from various military branches, dignitaries, first responders and the community gathered to honor and recognize the sacrifices of those who served to protect America’s freedoms during a Veterans Day ceremony at the Murray Nelson Government Center in Key Largo on Thursday, Nov. 11.

With the Keys Community Concert Band kicking it off with tunes, the ceremony included two short, heart-wrenching videos showing those who protected and served the country. Words were shared by County Commissioner Holly Raschein, John Donnelly, U.S. Marine veteran and Purple Heart recipient; State Attorney Dennis Ward, commander of VFW Post 10211; John Dick, school board chairman and Vietnam veteran; Capt. Ed Davidson, a Vietnam Veteran who was a Navy fighter pilot; Brian Mundey, U.S Army veteran and VFW Post 10211 trustee; and Jacinto Molina, U.S. Marine veteran and Monroe County Veterans Affairs Service Officer.

The U.S. Coast Guard provided the color guard, while VFW Post 10211 Chaplain Tim Link gave the invocation. Sheriff Rick Ramsay, sheriff’s deputies, Coast Guard Station Islamorada Commander Matt James, Monroe County School Board member Sue Woltanski and Key Largo Fire Department and EMS were among those present.

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Jim McCarthy believes in community reporting, giving back and life on the water. A workout fanatic, diver and a bogey-golfer, Jim loves chicken wings, Marvel movies and sports.