People in the Florida Keys have many opportunities across the island chain on Veterans Day, which is always Nov. 11, to pay tribute to those who have served in the United States military.

The Monroe County Veterans Affairs Department is co-hosting with Key Largo VFW Post 10211 a Veterans Day ceremony to honor all who served at 11 a.m. Saturday, at the Murray Nelson Government Center in Key Largo. 

The Key Largo Community Band will perform patriotic songs, and the U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard will present the colors. Following the ceremony, veterans and family members are invited to a picnic at Peace Park located behind the Nelson Government Center hosted by American Legion Post 145, Post 333, and VFW Post 3911.

During the same time in Key West, at 11 a.m., Monroe County Veterans Affairs staff will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Garden at Bayview Park.

Monroe County Commissioner Craig Cates will read a proclamation designating Operation Green Light for Veterans through Veterans Day.

Operation Green Light was created to show support for veterans by lighting government buildings green from November 6-12. 

“By shining a green light, county governments and our residents will let veterans know that they are seen, appreciated and supported,” said the groups behind the program – the National Association of Counties and the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers.

Veterans Day events in the Keys on Saturday also include:

At 11 a.m., American Legion Post 154 will host a Veterans Day parade from 20th Street in Marathon, making a U-turn at the traffic light at 107th Street, ending at the American Legion at 4115 Overseas Hwy. 

Following the parade, there will be a ceremony at the Post starting around noon.

Islamorada Fire Rescue Station 20 will host a Veterans Day ceremony at 81850 Overseas Highway, Islamorada at 11 a.m.

Later that day, Monroe County Veterans Affairs and Monroe County staff will participate in the Key West Veterans Day Parade at 4 p.m. Naval Air Station Key West hosts the Key West parade that will run along Duval Street. The public is invited to cheer on parade participants and pay tribute to Veterans and service members.

Veterans Day commemorates the end of World War I, Nov. 11, 1918, and is a federal holiday designated to honor the more than 19 million men and women who have served in the U.S. military.

“Veterans Day celebrates all United States Veterans for their selfless service and sacrifice to our nation,” said Cathy Crane, Director of Monroe County Veterans Affairs. “Participating in Veterans Day events is a great way to demonstrate patriotism and pride for those who served.”

Monroe County offices will be closed on Friday, Nov. 10.

Gwen Filosa is The Keys Weekly’s Digital Editor, and has covered Key West news, culture and assorted oddities since she moved to the island in 2011. She was previously a reporter for the Miami Herald and WLRN public radio. Before moving to the Keys, Gwen was in New Orleans for a decade, covering criminal courts for The Times-Picayune. In 2006, the paper’s staff won the Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news and the Public Service Medal for their coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. She remains a devout Saints fan. She has a side hustle as a standup comedian, and has been a regular at Comedy Key West since 2017. She is also an acclaimed dogsitter, professional Bingo caller and a dedicated Wilco fan.