On Saturday, about 200 people took part in a picnic and ceremony to celebrate Patriot Day.



For the second year, the Southern Builders Association prepared and sold Cajun cuisine to benefit Veteranís Park and subsidize funds for the care of the memorial.



Keynote speakers for this yearís event were James Kennedy, a retired Army colonel who is veteranís service officer for Gulf County, and Ben Humphries, from Vero Beach, who is state president of Vietnam Veterans of America.



Both men spoke on patriotism. They praised the Three Soldiers monument. Humphries cautioned that support and services for veterans must be guarded. He talked about the lingering effects of the war on those who fought and their children and even grandchildren.



Ginny Griner sang the Star Spangled Banner, the JROTC program from Port St. Joe High School presented the colors and Joel Hammond, president of the Southern Builders Association, led the Pledge of Allegiance. Frank Cook and Steve Lanier, both retired Navy officers, laid a wreath at the foot of the monument.



The group then adjourned to Chapman Botanical Gardens to enjoy jambalaya and white beans prepared by the culinary branch of the builders association.



Jimmy Mosconis, organizer of the event, said he felt it went well and praised Humphries, Kennedy and the builders association.



Funds raised will be used to provide extra care to the garden surrounding the Three Soldiers Detail South. Lloyd Dunlap, pictured here, volunteers his services in maintaining the statue. He visits quarterly from Savannah, Ga. to do so. Dunlap said he began his volunteer efforts after observing wear on monuments in Washington, DC. By LOIS SWOBODA