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Local News

Bud & Dorie Day Patriots' Trail In FWB Now Complete

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  The Ft. Walton Beach community commemorated the completion of The Bud and Dorie Day Patriots’ Trail.

“And now, families, children, young people, and adults using that trail today,” FWB Mayor Mike Anderson leads the celebration marking the completion of the trail.

“And, just the inspirational notes that are along the way, it’s just really, really a fitting tribute to a great American hero and the great American wives who are behind these heroes.”

The half-mile trail is named in honor of Vietnam War hero Col. Bud Day, who died in July of 2013 at the age of 88, and his wife Dorie. The trail which will be maintained by the city of Ft. Walton Beach is a combination of nature preserve and memorial and winds down Staff Drive, Nebraska Avenue, continuing along the “California Ditch” and featuring 16 historical markers comprised of information highlighting their life together.

State Representative Matt Gaetz says it’s incredibly cool to live in Northwest Florida where honoring great military heroes is worthy cause, Bud Day, Dorie Day, just remarkably special people. You know there is something exceptional about the sense of bravery, and sacrifice and patriotism, love of country, love of neighbor, sense of justice for veterans, sense of community, and for them to be so special and to choose to live here among all of us.”

Rep. Gaetz says the trail’s completion is not only supported by local legislation but, was truly an effort by the whole community. Gaetz says several civic organizations lent a hand making the project possible including the FWB Chamber of Commerce, spearheading the project, the FWB Womens’ Club, Order of the Daedalians, and The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, There is no place on the planet Earth where we have a greater respect and love for those who have engaged in this type of special service to country and special service to community. Not just in the military but beyond and in all that the Day family have done for those who have served.”

On February 24th 2014, which would have been Col Day’s 89th birthday, ground was broken on the trail.  And, a little over a year later on May 28th  2015, on Bud and Dorie Day’s wedding anniversary, the first phase of the trail was opened to the public. It was such a success that opening Phase II became the next priority.

Phase II of the project includes the Dorie Day Garden on the walking trail and the Bud and Dorie Day Courtyard located at Docie Bass park.

The Mistys, a military outfit Bud Day flew with on combat missions during the Vietnam War, sponsored a flagpole on the trail, “Dorie and Bud, I know you’re listening.”

Major General Don Shepperd, spoke on behalf of the Mistys. He said it was a privilege to support the project in honor of their friend and comrade, “Bud, I can’t tell you how much you meant to us at the time, how much you mean to us now, and what you have done for service men everywhere. We love you. We respect you. And we want to see you many more years; we’ll come back and walk this trail with you. Forever, until we can’t walk anymore.”