'Thank you': Orange County honors veterans with inaugural Veterans Day ceremony

Orange County held its inaugural Veterans Day ceremony to honor the nearly 70,000 veterans living in the county.

Dozens of veterans attended the ceremony outside the Orange County Administration Building and received an American flag pin and postcard from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings thanking them for their service.

“This is very needed here… I’m very happy about it,” said William Wright Jr, who served in the U.S. Army Special Forces for two decades. He said Monday’s ceremony was very significant for him. “I did three tours, two plus tours in Vietnam and the first two I was spit on. Rotten eggs were thrown at me when I came back.”

Mayor Jerry Demings said, “I wanted to make certain we recognize the service of our veterans in a significant way.” Mayor Demings said the ceremony was also to honor the 700 county employees who have served or are currently serving or on reserved duty. Nearly one in ten Orange County employees are serving or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“We wanted to do that in a very humbling way to say thank you for the freedoms we enjoy every day.”

Wright said he hopes people remember the sacrifices veterans made to help those freedoms possible. “I want young people to understand that it was a major sacrifice. Many of the years while people was enjoying weekends I was somewhere either in the jungle which I did three tours in Vietnam, in Alaska, in Germany, in other locations.”

Watch the full ceremony below.