Veterans’ Day may be Saturday, but that didn’t stop the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital from celebrating early with its annual cookout and parade.

  • Event now in its 10th year
  • Congresswoman Kathy Castor in attendance
  • Nearly 1.5 million area veterans served at facility

Thousands gathered around the VA hospital grounds to enjoy the sounds of marching bands, the smell of burgers on the grill, and the words of well wishes to the men in women in uniform.

Congresswoman Kathy Castor reminded the crowd that Tampa Bay is home to one of the largest populations of veterans in the country.

“But that means we have a great responsibility to take care of the folks who have served us so well.” Castor said.

This year marks the 10th year the VA hospital has held their parade.

Retired Army Sergeant Brenda Jean-Paul has been a regular attendee.

“This is my fourth year here," Jean-Paul told us. "I'm usually volunteering, but I enjoy it every year.”

Nearly 1.5 million veterans are served at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.