“All gave some. Some gave all.”
Veterans from around the area were honored for their service Saturday during the annual Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony in Weatherford. Parker County has one of the highest veterans concentration in Texas with one out of 10 residents being a veteran, according to keynote speaker Larry Jones, a retired Navy commander. Jones said there are 21 million veterans in the U.S., or 6.8 percent of the population. In Texas, that number drops to 6.5 percent of the population.
Jones said the number could keep dropping as 75 percent of Americans ages 17 to 24, where the bulk of new recruits comes from, are ineligible for military service.
“Be it because they are overweight, have a disability or because of drug or mental issues, they just don’t qualify,” Jones said. “Despite all that, we have always been quick to respond to a call to arms.”
Jones, whose great-great -great-great-grandfather served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, said the character of a nation is shown by how veterans are treated. He said veterans are treated pretty well but the advent of the GI Bill has made for great advances in that. In closing, he asked the Lord to be kind to veterans and to protect the “youngsters” still serving our country.
“So few have given so much for the benefit of so many,” Jones said when discussing veterans.
American Legion Post 163 sponsored the event. Post Commander Bill Mallory thanked all veterans for their service and said the ceremony and parade was “the post’s way of showing our gratitude to all of them.”
Weatherford Mayor Dennis Hooks and Parker County Judge Pro Tem George Conley read proclamations honoring veterans with weeks and weekends throughout the area. Past Post Commander Jim Wright, who has had six generations of his family serve in the military, said service has come naturally to residents.
“I have always found Weatherford to be a very patriotic community,” Wright said. “It is a privilege to be back in my hometown.”
Following the ceremony outside Kangaroo Stadium, South Main Street was lined with people braving a stiff south wind wishing to honor veterans and watch the parade. David Joseph, 9, showed his patriotic spirit by waving his American flag.
“It was a fun thing to do,” Joseph, whose grandfather served in Vietnam, said. “I want to honor him because he’s a good man.”
Find more photos of the Veterans Day parade here.