The annual DeSoto Parade, one of the largest and oldest parades in Southwest Florida, was once again, a huge success! More than 200,000 people lined the streets of our home to watch the illuminated floats and to check out the new Hernando DeSoto, Captain of the Crewe, and the newly crowned Queen and Princess.
This year was particularly special. John & the AMOB Family had the honor of meeting 97-year-old Corporal Steve Lewis from Palmetto. Steve was in the United States Army at the outset of World War II and is the last surviving Buffalo Soldier (The name “Buffalo Soldiers” came from the Cheyenne Indians for their appearance and bravery.), where he was assigned to the Ninth Cavalry Division, one of the two U.S. Army African-American cavalry units. After the Civil War, the Ninth Cavalry Regiment was formed to escort settlers along the western frontier, and to fight in the late 19th Century Indian Wars.
In the Ninth Cavalry Regiment, Steve learned how to ride a horse for the first time and to fire a .45 pistol from horseback. After the Ninth Cavalry Regiment was deactivated, Steve was reassigned to the U.S. Army Transportation Corps. His role was noncombat, but essential to supply soldiers on the frontline.
After his much appreciated military service, Steve earned a degree in agriculture from Florida A&M and proceed to teach high school in Manatee County at Lincoln Memorial for more than 30 years.
Cpl. Steve Lewis is a staple, a hero, and an honor here in Bradenton. Thank you, Steve, for your years of service, and thank you to those who continue to serve.