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Bandera to honor Veterans

By Susan L. Junker BCC Contributor

Bring family! Bring friends! Bring all veterans and their families!

Since three in 25 of Bandera County residents are veterans, it is highly likely that one of your family members or friends has served their country in the Armed Forces. The 2012 United States Census estimates the Bandera County 2012 population at 20,537 and the veterans' total as 3,156 - 15 percent of the population. That is a rare statistic across the United States and one to certainly celebrate!

The celebration will take place Saturday, Nov. 9, starting appropriately on the courthouse lawn.

Starting at 9 am, veterans' families and friends will display military service photographs, memorabilia and history. There is still time to reserve a table, which will be provided, for the Family Veteran Display by calling Pam Baker 830-796-5207 or Pat Downing 830-688-3615. The families will be honored for their support and sacrifice as well.

The official Veterans Day ceremony begins at 11 am with opening remarks, an invocation and the National Anthem.

Retired United States Army Brigadier General James Bisson, who hails from Harper, will serve as keynote speaker. His distinguished service includes tours in Vietnam War, as well as providing leadership in the Texas Army National Guard.

Special guests will be local veterans of World War II, with escorts provided by members of the Bandera High School FFA. In addition, Sgt. Patrick Tilley - aka "Sarge" - will be stationed by the front entrance of the courthouse. The retired US Army horse, a large black Percheron, now resides at the Brighter Days Horse Refuge in Pipe Creek. Stop by, say "Hi!" and thank him for his service.

And the bigger, better Veterans Day parade kicks off at noon. To date, over 30 floats, riders, entries and marchers will participate - nearly double the parade size of just three years ago. The Bandera High School Band will provide a patriotic tribute as well.

Organizations can still up for the parade by calling Marshall Considine, chairman of the Bandera Honors Veterans committee, at 830-796-5207.

Following the parade, veterans and their spouses are invited to attend a free barbecue luncheon, sponsored by the law firm of Wayne Wright. Cost for non-veterans is $3. The barbecue will be served at approximately 1 pm.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, retired US Army General, put Veterans Day into perspective by saying, "Twenty-two million living Americans today have distinguished themselves by their service in uniform. Their devotion and sacrifice have been the bedrock of our sovereignty as a nation, our values as a people, our security as a democracy and our offer of hope to those in other lands, who dream our dreams of 'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness'."

Bandera County has contributed tens of thousands of its citizens to this cause. Everyone is urged to take a few minutes on Nov. 9 to honor our hometown heroes by being there for them at the courthouse and on Main Street. Shake the hands of those veterans who are present and take a silent moment to honor the service of those no longer with us. Bandera - indeed - Honors Veterans!