TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Nearly 98,000 veterans call Hillsborough County home.
According to the county, Hillsborough has the largest population of veterans in the state of Florida, and on Thursday, those veterans were honored.READ MORE: Hubbard's Marina Awarded Top 10 Boat Tours In The Country
Over 200 flags are standing at Veterans Memorial Park, each representing someone who has served our country. Thursday morning, members of each military branch in Hillsborough County was recognized and each veteran, thanked.
“I served in the marines six years, four years active and two years in the reserves,” said Marines veteran, Salvatore DiFonzo.
“Vietnam 1970 to 1971,” said Army veteran, Terry Varvil.
“I served a little less than ten years, but I’m married to a serviceman that was 23 years,” said another Army veteran, Lavette Berrian.
Veterans of all backgrounds came together on Thursday as Hillsborough County leaders thanked them for their service at Veterans Memorial Park in Tampa.
“I’m really emotional, I’m really proud, I’m proud to be a marine, I’m proud to be a veteran,” said DiFonzo.
“Today is a day where we get to come together to remember those who have served, who have given their lives, who have made freedom what it is,” said Berrian.READ MORE: At Least Two Dead And Others Injured In A Shooting At A Texas Elementary School
Those who lost their lives were remembered.
“Just lost two more army buddies. We do grow old. That was 50 years ago, I’m 71 now. So yes, it is emotional,” said Varvil.
“Every time I see a flag, I think of somebody who has fallen. I’m very appreciative for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, I’m grateful for their families, I’m praying for them,” said Berrian.
Varvil says he’s not only thankful for those who have served, but he’s also thankful for his time in the army.
“The reason I went to Vietnam was to support my country of course, but because of that, I got shipped back to Indianapolis, met my wife, had two children,” said Varvil.
Berrian says the generosity and kindness we see on Veterans Day should extend year-round.
“Just be mindful this holiday season that people are not always joyous and they need to be looked out for,” said Berrian.MORE NEWS: Officials Investigating Two Possible Monkeypox Cases In Florida
Military members say if you see a veteran out in public at any time of the year, thank them for their service.