INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — Mayor Cookie Kennedy continued her annual tradition of honoring the city’s veterans around Veterans Day during a recent commission meeting.

Prior to the start of the Nov. 9 meeting, Kennedy explained how Veterans Day was “very important” to her because her father earned two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart for his service in WWII. In honor of her father and all veterans, and with her fellow commissioners’ blessings, Kennedy invited several vets in attendance, including two city commissioners, a priest, and a police officer, to come to the front of the City Hall auditorium, state their branch of service and talk about their experiences. The group included commissioners Phil Hanna and Denise Houseberg, the Rev. Tom Morgan from St. Jerome Roman Catholic Church and Bruce Dutton, an Air Force veteran who joked he “could not get out of the (United) States” because he was “stuck with the job” of training people to be instructors.

Kennedy then asked City Manager Gregg Mims to come forward and hold a candle in honor of “several deceased veterans that we know either throughout our community or that we care about,” including Mims’ father, a Navy reservist; William Loder, the original owner of Crabby Bills who served in the Korean War; and Kennedy’s father, Fred Moston, an Army vet who fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

After lighting the candles, Kennedy presented the vets with their city pins, stating they represented a symbol of “how much we care about you,” and adding her father always told her to “never forget all the work and courage it took to be enlisted and all the many places you’ve seen and probably things you haven’t told us about your service.”

Kennedy then turned the ceremony over to organist Lana Cartner, who said her father served in Pearl Harbor, dated Lana Turner and named her after the famous actress, and singer Curtis Watson from the Church of the Isles for a mellow rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.”

“I believe it’s important to acknowledge our community’s veterans as well as remember those who are no longer with us,” Kennedy said, adding, “holding this ceremony every year lets them know we will never forget or stop thanking them for their service to our country.”