Pictured: Councilmen Shane Valverde, center, and Leo Escobar, right, present a certificate of appreciation to Servando Lopez in honor of the United Veterans Burial Association. Below, the association performed the 12-gun salute at the event. Photo by OFELIA GARCIA HUNTER

CHRISTUS Spohn hosts Veterans Day ceremony

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice honored local veterans Sunday with a changing of the flags and a 21-gun salute by the United Veterans Burial Association.

"We are gathered today to honor each and every one of you," Margot Rios, spokeswoman for CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice, addressed those in attendance.

Rios gave a brief history of how Veterans Day evolved and was passed by Congress on June 1, 1954 and Nov. 11 became Veterans Day to honor all veterans of all the wars.

The ceremony honored veterans in the community and Spohn associates who have served or are currently serving.

The flags that are currently flying represent community members who are overseas. When those flags are replaced with the new ones, the old flags will be placed in storage until the men and women they represent return home.

When those people come home, they will be presented with "their" flag. The new flags being flown on Nov. 11 will represent Spohn associates who are currently serving overseas.

About 100 veterans, family members and supporters attended the ceremony Sunday.

Mayor Grace Saenz-Lopez read a proclamation to the veterans and presented it to councilman Shane Valverde for recently returning from Iraq and receiving the Purple Heart for his heroism.

Valverde and Leo Escobar, also a councilman, presented a certificate of appreciation to Servando Lopez and his organization, the United Veterans Burial Association, for their dedication to veterans during funerals.

The veterans association performed the 12-gun salute.

Those in attendance were treated to a luncheon after the ceremony at the hospital's cafeteria.