LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – The terrible massacre at Fort Hood wasn't far from the minds of some East Texans at the annual Veteran's Parade in Nacogdoches Saturday.
"Sooner or later they'll get old enough to really realize the significance of Veterans Day, what it means for our country, and to help pay tribute to these brave young men and women that have fought for our country," said Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss.
One veteran came not only because it's a tribute to his military service, but also for a more personal reason.
"Well it's good to see the people show up for veterans and it's always prideful to see that, but I came to see my granddaughter who is on the drill team, so that's a big moment for me," said Veteran Paul Barber.
"To have my papa here since he's a veteran, it's just a great experience," said Nacogdoches High School Dragonette Ashton Barber. "It's so awesome how he had such dedication to our country and I'm so proud of him for that."
However, knowledge of the tragic Fort Hood massacre was still fresh on some East Texan's minds.
"Certainly my heart goes out to all the victims and the friends and loved ones that have been involved in the Fort Hood incident," said Kerss. "It's sad that that has occurred...and our prayers go out to them."
"Given what's been going on in the world today, especially with the last couple days with Fort Hood, to go out and celebrate our veterans and the sacrifices they've made and what they've done for us, and are still doing for us, and really know that they're doing it for our freedom," said Veteran Dylan Parkhurst.
His daughter was in the parade and, as a veteran, he knows her involvement is key.
"I mean she's the future and that's what veterans have done. They fight for her," explained Parkhust.
Saturday, it was a celebration of a wonderful thing called freedom and a remembrance of those who fought to defend it.
Sheriff Kerss also stayed after the parade to hand out badges to some of the young parade participants that say "God and Country" on them.