Pictured: Members of the Alice High School ROTC program conducted a flag-raising ceremony at the event. Photo by MAURICIO JULIAN CUELLAR JR.
Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal
Veterans and members of the community met at Retama Manor Monday morning to recognize the contributions of veterans and those who are currently serving in the Armed Forces.
Retama Manor Administrator Clay Kofran said soldiers need to be honored and remembered every day, not just on Veterans Day.
"We need to keep them in our prayers on a daily basis, the soldiers who have fought for the freedom of this country, and those who are currently overseas or stationed in the United States," Kofran said. "All men and women who have served this country, we owe a great deal to them. Their work allows us to have the way of life we are accustomed to. Enjoy this day."
Maintenance Supervisor Greg Lyons led the group in an opening prayer and honored those soldiers who were prisoners of war and missing in action by leaving one seat empty during the ceremony. Lyons is a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.
The Alice High School Air Force Junior ROTC performed a flag raising ceremony in honor of the veterans and those in attendance.
Also on hand was American Legion Department of Texas District 14 Commander J.R. Carney Jr.
"When heroes are denied access to VA facilities, veterans are disrespected. When schools tell the military to keep their recruiters away, veterans are disrespected. When a war-time army general is called a betrayer during war time, veterans are disrespected," Carney said. "Companies understand that it's smart business to hire veterans, and when guard and reserve members are deployed, it's America's business to ensure that civilian careers not suffer."
He also said there are 1.2 million women in America today who have worn the uniform and they are major contributors to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many have given their lives during the War on Terror, Carney said, and it is important that the VA adequately treat breast and cervical cancers, as well as trauma that results from domestic violence and sexual assault.
Finally, Elisandro Rodriguez, the American Legion Post 186 Commander in Alice, and Elida G. Rodriguez, Unit 186 Ladies Auxiliary President, spoke on how important it is to honor veterans and remember their sacrifice.