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2016-11-03

Veterans Day events to involve more participation from schools

By Steven James BCC Editor

The annual Bandera Veterans Day Parade, hosted by Bandera’s American Legion Post 157, will be held Saturday, Nov. 12.
The parade begins at noon at Bandera City Park, but the family and veteran displays begin at 10 am at the Bandera Courthouse lawn, followed by the honors program at 11. The family and veteran displays will feature music from the San Antonio Pipe and Drum Corps and the USAA Brass and Community Choir. The honors program will include an invocation and benediction from St. Stanislaus Catholic Church Rev. John Nolan, a posting of the colors by Boy Scout Troop 146, opening remarks from Bandera County Judge Richard Evans, the singing of “Yankee Doodle” and “American Heroes” by the Bandera Middle School choir and the singing of the National Anthem by Ethan Ellingson of the Bandera High School choir.
The Veterans Barbeque will be at 1 pm at the courthouse. Food will be served by Sid’s Main Street BBQ and cakes will be served by Country Sweets Bakery. In case of rain, the location will change to the Legion at 205 12th St. The barbeque and sweets will be free for veterans and their spouses, and $3 for other attendees.
Bandera American Legion Executive Committee Adjutant, Public Relations Officer and Historian, Susan Junker said the Legion tries to differentiate the parade each year, with this year’s parade focusing more on getting participation from local schools. In addition to people from the middle and high schools providing music, the school teachers who are veterans will also participate in the day’s events.
“We come across as the Cowboy Capital of the World, but I think this business of being part of a strong, patriotic and military heritage really helps the community also when it comes to being identified in the quality of the community,” Junker said. “It comes across with a certain level of ethics, a certain level of community engagement.”
More than 13 percent of Bandera County residents are veterans, according to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics.
Funding the parade each year costs $3,000 to $4,000. The Legion gets help with funding from the county, local school districts and with an annual fundraiser held at the 11th Street Cowboy Bar. The county donates $1,000 each year to help with the parade, Junker said.
She said another reason for holding the parade is to make the youth more aware of military culture so they can have a sense of pride for their country and for the military.
“Getting them engaged, getting them involved, instilling a sense of pride in them early on, because a lot of times when they’re engaged it’ll just kind of build their self-confidence,” Junker also said. “It’s my way to pay it forward. I had great opportunities, so I’d like to make sure the next generation has equal or better.”
Junker worked in the U.S. Army as a logistics officer and rose to the rank of colonel.
She said the national American Legion, Legion Post 157 and the American Legion Auxiliary, which is consisted of veterans’ family members, holds programs for young people so they can learn more about the U.S. military and how to help veterans, including Girls State, Boys State, Girls Nation, Boys Nation and Veterans in the Classroom.
Veterans in the Classroom will be on Veterans Day at Alkek Elementary School. Students will get to see all of the military medals one can achieve from each branch, as well as interact with a few veterans, including a Vietnam War veteran and an army medic.
Junker said she hopes the students who interact with these veterans will see what they can achieve in their lives, especially students who might lack direction or discipline.
“Every community has its issues, but we certainly don’t lack the spirit, the pride the opportunity to address those issues,” Junker said.