East Texans Honor Their Hometown Heroes - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

11/10/06 - East Texas

East Texans Honor Their Hometown Heroes

by Ramonica R. Jones

Woodville fifth-grader Dorian Maloy shared her award-winning essay on the veteran in her life - her grandfather. It was one of many tributes to our troops Friday in East Texas.

The ceremony honored veterans through song, prayer, and a slide show presentation featuring Tyler County vets. Soldiers who went off to war and never came back were also remembered for their service.

An empty chair on stage representing thousands of unaccounted for soldiers was covered with a flag during a brief POW/MIA ceremony.

Sgt. 1st Class Maitland McKenzie, U.S. Army, told the crowd, "All veterans know the real meaning of courage." He called them "ordinary people that have been placed in extraordinary circumstances."

"The soldiers are doing the job that they are required to do, which is to support and defend the constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic," Maitland said. "Sometime during this weekend, take time to pause and think and give thanks to God for what they have done for us."

And new soldiers agree. S.F.A. ROTC Cadet Sabrina Thomas joined the Army just four years ago. Although veterans are not celebrated every day, she knows they are often thought about.

"Almost every person in each family has someone who's been overseas and who's helped others," Thomas said. "I believe that veterans are a part of everyone's life. You can't help but remember them."

Angelina County residents also paid tribute to veterans Friday. Central students had a small ceremony on campus. Many of them entered a poster contest to honor the men and women in the armed forces.

State Representative Jim McReynolds met with the students and presented a patriotic present to the winner.

"Since 1929 - when Armistice Day began and later it was changed to Veterans Day - we've been having parades and we've been having moments of silence and we've been having traffic come to a stop and all of us remembering those who serve our nation and our state in the armed service, and we are proud of them today and we honor them today," McReynolds said.

The winner of the poster contest was presented with an American flag.

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