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Honoring those who served & protected

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Photos by Judith Pannebaker
Retired United States Navy Capt. AJ Hodges served breakfast to Vietnam veteran Kiki Velez during a special breakfast at the American Legion Post 157 on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Bandera City Councilman Charlotte Browning-Black welcomed World War II veterans to the Bandera Honors Veterans ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Photos by Judith Pannebaker
Elected officials and members of the community turned out to thank members of the United States Armed Services for their sacrifice.

Retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. Clayton Powell and his wife, Nancy, couldn't resist a photo op with fully accoutered WWII veteran Dan Chant.

Like the caissons of the Marines, retired military horse, Sarge, just keeps "rollin' along." Now a denizen of Brighter Day Horse Refuge, Sarge enjoyed a treat from Calleigh Gates, 6, granddaughter of retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas Gates of Pipe Creek. Calleigh's little sister, 18-month-old sister, Macy also contributed carrots to Sarge's health and well-being.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, an armistice was signed designed to end the war that had supposedly "ended all wars." However, that proved not to be the case. Ninety-eight years after the end of World War I, American troops are still involved in conflicts across the globe.
So, in small and large communities across the United Sates, people gather to honor past and present members of the Armed Services - and Bandera County is no exception.
It was not lost on those attending the Bandera Honors Veterans ceremony Saturday, Nov. 14, that President Barack Obama has deployed up to 50 special operations force troops to northern Syria as "advisors." As was noted by several of those attending, "Everyday on the news we see these young men described as Syrian 'refugees,' who want to come to the United States. Why aren't they back there fighting for their country? Why do our young men and women have to do it for them?"
The answer is because the American military has been pulling others "fat out of the fire" for as long as this country has been a sovereign nation and then she brings her troops back home - at least some of them.
For, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell said: "We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and ... put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in."
Keynote speaker for the 14th annual event was former Bandera County Precinct 4 Commissioner Doug King. He movingly recounted the "Band of Brothers" tour he and his wife took last June. The tour followed in the boot prints of the 101st Airborne - aka the "Band of Brothers" after the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France until 1945.
In his opening remarks, Bandera Honors Veterans Committee Chairman Marshall Considine noted, "In the United States, 1 percent of the population has served in the armed forces, but in Bandera County over 10 percent have served." He continued, "They were all part of something bigger than themselves and they didn't do it for 'mom and apple pie.' They did it for those serving on their right and left, to bring them home."
Acknowledging the World War II veterans who had attended the ceremony, County Judge Richard Evans said, "Government is able to perform its duties because these people performed their duties. They are called the 'Greatest Generation.' Well, I consider myself part of the luckiest generation because I was raised by the 'Greatest Generation'."