(Look for photo slideshow at the end of this article)
On Saturday, November 9, the Village of Estero honored all veterans, active military, first responders and Gold Star parents at the Estero Community Park in what started out as a drizzly, overcast morning but later turned into a beautiful sunny day.
About 320 residents braved the elements including District 3 Lee County Commissioner Ray Sandelli and Village Councilmembers.
The Estero High School ROTC flag bearers marched to the front of the stage for the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the New Horizons of Southwest Florida Children’s Choir which gave an enthusiastic and touching rendition of “Proud to be an American.”
Mayor Bill Ribble welcomed all to this special event. Gary Bonvillian, an Estero resident who is a Vietnam veteran and a volunteer with the local Veterans Helping Veterans organization, then gave an inspiring talk about what veterans go through upon returning home.
A patriotic music performance was presented by Estero concert artist Lindsey Graham, who called to the stage all who have served or who are currently serving our country. There then was the presentation of a riderless horse symbolizing fallen soldiers, a 21- gun salute and taps.
Following the tribute to veterans, all enjoyed free hot dogs and the lively American pop music concert performed by Lindsey.
This event was hosted by District 3 Councilmember Jon McLain, and was supported by Estero’s Village Council and staff, Estero Council of Community Leaders, Estero Fire Rescue, Estero Houses of Worship and Estero Rotary.