McDonald's Salutes as Military Appreciation Month Kicks Off
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 7, 2006 Military Appreciation Month is under way, as millions of people have jammed the beach here this week for "Fleet Week USA - A National Salute to America's Heroes," sponsored by McDonald's.
The company kicked off the salute on May 1. Today's McDonald's Air and Sea Show, featuring the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels demonstration team and the Army's Golden Knights parachute team, will conclude the week's festivities. The Canadian Forces Snow Birds precision aerobatics team is adding an international flavor to the weekend.
The salute has been a fixture here for 12 years running, according to event officials.
"This salute to America's heroes is presumably the largest spectator event in the world," Mickey Markoff, founder and president of MDM Group, told a crowd gathered for an earlier Fleet Week activity. "We expect millions of people here this weekend." MDM Group is a Fort Lauderdale-based marketing firm specializing in corporate-sponsored sporting and special events.
The weekend's activities on the water include a Super Boat International/American Power Boat Association race and a beach invasion conducted by the Marine Corps and the Navy.
Those who want to take in the demonstrations the military is offering but want to stay off what promises to be a crowded four-mile stretch of beach can check out the McDonald's Air and Sea Show Display Village. Located at a nearby mall, spectators can view civilian and military land and marine vehicles as well as sponsor displays and demonstrations.
"Part of the reason we sponsor both of the programs is ... giving back to the community at large has always been a cornerstone of McDonald's and our business," Ellis said. "So this program is just another great way to do exactly that, and at the same time, salute the very important work of the men and women of the U.S. military."