A New Veterans Day Tradition

TAMPA -

Veterans Day is a time to honor those who served and are currently serving in the military. Some did just that at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa.

Among the first in line to march in Haley's first ever Veterans Day parade were the Disabled American Veterans. The Brandon DAV Chapter 83 had a large contingent.

The DAV also cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for the hospitalized veterans and their families. Next to the DAV, Tom Harding was warming up to march with Boy Scout Troup 148 of New Tampa and Wesley Chapel. Some of the scouts already volunteer at the hospital.

Jarod Page stood along the back of the hospital where spinal cord injury patients were wheeled out to watch. He spent seven years in the Army. He now serves in the Florida National Guard and could face deployment to the Middle East.

'Veterans Day is like one of those holidays that people take like you know Presidents Day or Columbus Day I don't think it's taken as seriously as it should be,' Page lamented.

The volunteers, staff and administrators at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital are working to rally that community awareness. The parade was a start honoring veterans like Joe Rush, an army sergeant in the Vietnam War. But, he to support today's wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as did his friend and Vietnam army buddy Willie Mathis agreed.

'We're all family. Bottom line, we're all family.' Mathis said. 'We ve got to take care of one another.'

They are among the thousands of wounded veterans and active service members that are taken care of on an outpatient basis at Haley.

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