LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – It was a parade organized for heroes honoring the men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces. The Lufkin Veterans Parade began at the Civic Center and wound its way downtown.
It was a chance to show veterans their service and time will never be forgotten. This was the Tenth Annual Veterans Day Parade for Lufkin. A sea of American flags greeted the crowd of participants, proud supporters and veterans. "Without the Veterans and what they did we wouldn't be able to do what we're doing today," Robert Harris, Gypsies Lufkin Chapter, said.
Parade coordinator Marilyn Davis said many veterans don't get the appreciation they deserve. "They don't feel like they are respected and that people don't, they take freedom for granted and these guys gave up their lives for four years, 10 years, whatever and they went over and fought for us," Davis said.
Some veterans, like Thomas Gray, a U-S Navy veteran, remembered a time when community support was hard to find. "Back in the Vietnam Era when I was in the service, we weren't supported very well but I am real proud of this country now, and how they support our troops now."
"If you're a vet, you know you don't want to talk about what you did but you do feel important and proud whenever someone recognizes that you went out and served your country," General Orren "Cotton" Whiddon (Ret.) said.
Texas State Representative-Elect James White (R) District 12 stressed the importance of their legacy. "Just because you're an American, just because you're in the United States, our prosperity and our blessings are not certain. We must continue to look toward God and we must continue to honor those who gave that ultimate sacrifice."
The observance also gave younger generations to learn and appreciate those sacrifices.
"I'm most thankful for the land we have, for the freedom," Jared Kirkland, Boy Scout, said.
"Thank you for making our country free," Kyler Duren, Girl Scout, said.
Following the parade, which drew a crowd of about 200 people, the Lufkin VFW offered free hot dogs for veterans and their families.
President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 12, 1919, following the end to the main hostilities of World War I, which were finished at the 11th hour of 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with Germany signing of the Armistice. Congress replaced "Armistice" with Veterans on November 8, 1954 and it has been recognized as Veterans Day since.
The national recognition is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony commences precisely at 11 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade and remarks by veterans' organizations and dignitaries.