KILLEEN — Central Texas residents came out in support of its military veterans during the city’s annual Veterans Day Parade in downtown Nov. 11.
“It’s a day of celebration,” retired Sgt. Maj. Guadalupe Lopez, parade co-chair, said about Veterans Day. “Once a year the nation gets together and says, ‘Thank you very much for what you have done.’”
Dozens of participants walked, marched, danced, rode or drove through downtown, while hundreds of spectators lined the streets in their best patriotic attire, proudly waving American flags.
While the community is known for its strong military ties, this year they were selected by the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Regional Site for Veterans Day observances. The Veterans Day National Committee selects communities annually that represent fitting tributes to America’s heroes.
“It’s quite an honor,” Lopez said about the recognition.
He said most cities that receive the designation are large cities, so it is quite an honor for a city the size of Killeen to be recognized. The certificate for being named a Regional Site for Veterans Day observances was presented to Debbie Nash-King, mayor pro tem for the city of Killeen.
“It is a honor for the city of Killeen to be selected as a Veterans Day Regional Site. This is truly a community award because of the many veterans organizations that sponsor community events to support, not only the retired veterans community, but also active duty Soldiers and family members on a daily basis,” Nash-King said about the honor. “The city of Killeen truly cares about our veterans.”
As partners of the Veterans Day Parade, the cities of Harker Heights and Copperas Cove also received certificates from the Veterans Day National Committee.
Brig. Gen. Monté Rone, deputy commander for maneuver of 1st Cavalry Division, served as Grand Marshal of the parade. The parade committee asked the First Team for someone to act as Grand Marshal as a way to honor the division’s centennial birthday.
Lopez has been helping organize the Killeen Veterans Day Parade since 200 4. He said the parade is a great way for the city to honor the veterans and active duty personnel in the community. He added that it would not be possible without the support of the community, who just wants to thank the troops for always giving 100% of themselves.
“We should be thankful to all of them,” Lopez added. “Thank you very much from a country that loves you and still sees you as a person of interest to our nation.”