BELTON — Fort Hood led the march through the streets of Belton on July 4, during their annual 100th anniversary parade.
Lt. Gen. Pat White, III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general kicked off the annual parade as the guest speaker.
Although new to the Central Texas Region, the general believed it was important to be present and celebrate to 4th of July with his new community.
“We’re happy to be here,” White said. “We’re happy to be your partner and I want to thank you, on behalf of the Soldiers and Families and civilians at Fort Hood, for being such a great partner and making people like me want to come out here and speak, even if I’ve only been here for 30 days, because this is important and it’s a great crowd.”
Participating in the parade festivities, representing Fort Hood, included the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Color Guard, which posted the colors before the event. Also participating were the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cav. Detachment, 1st Cav. Div. Band, and a formation of troops from the 61st Quartermaster Battalion, 13th ESC, all of which led the parade formation.
White said he was honored by the warm embrace his new home has given to his Family and himself in his short time here.
“Emma and I have received the warmest welcome we’ve ever received, from the Central Texas community, in our entire career,” White said. “We’ve been given a big hug and that hasn’t let up yet, and the town of Belton has extended that hug even further.”
In 2008, USA Today named Belton’s Independence Day parade as one of the nation’s “Top Ten Places to Fly Your Flag on the Fourth.” White took notice.
“It’s absolutely astounding how big the community is, how far it stretches outside of the gates of Fort Hood,” the general said. “And for Emma and I, it’s an opportunity to serve and give back; a larger community than we’ve been to before, and so, we’re really proud to be here and happy to be a part of that.”
Spectator Cheryl Davis, a retired military spouse, said she has been attending the parade for a long time now and wouldn’t miss the occasion, as it’s a time to salute the nation, military and spend time with Family.
“This is a tradition for my husband and my daughter, my granddaughter, my son-in-law and myself,” Davis said. “We come every year. It’s just a lot of fun, a lot of tradition, we love the parade. It’s just a really enjoyable time.”
White said it is people and nation pride, which credits the success of the 100th year of the parade.
“I think what we ought to take away is the sense of community that makes America what America is,” White said. “I mean, we are the greatest nation on Earth and this right here … it only happens in America.”