Photos by Rikki Yanez
Article by Tayler Sawisch
SAN MARCOS – Local citizens lined the downtown streets of San Marcos Saturday morning to celebrate Veteran’s Day with free breakfast, entertainment and a parade. The event was sponsored by the City of San Marcos and the Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee and local veterans’ organizations.
The celebration started at 8:30 a.m. by serving a free biscuit and gravy breakfast on the County Courthouse lawn. Additionally, on the County Courthouse lawn children ages five and older could decorate their bikes and helmets with flags, streamers and signs from 9 to 10 a.m. The parade began at 10 a.m. and veterans’ groups, military organizations, civic clubs, bands, drill teams, public officials, youth teams, classic vehicles and others were invited to join the Veterans Day Parade.
The streets were closed off with large orange and white striped signs and police cars. Families, couples, students and individuals surrounded the streets that are regularly filled with cars and trucks.
The crowd waited for the parade to begin by watching the Head to Toe Dance Team from Dripping Springs, Texas, perform. The young dancers were full of energy with constant smiles, wearing sparkling red dresses and dancing to various patriotic songs.
Following the performance, U. S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) also honored veterans prior to the parade. Doggett has represented the 35th District of Texas since Jan. 3, 2013 and his next election is in 2018. The 35th district has a population of about 710,000 individuals. Previously Doggett represented Texas’s 25th congressional district from 2005 to 2012 and Texas’s 10th congressional district from 1995 to 2004.
The parade started rolling through the downtown streets with a vintage Cadillac convertible leading the parade. The convertible was followed by bikes, school buses, trucks, pedi-cabs and much more, which all moved down Hopkins Street to the Courthouse, turned left on Guadalupe, then left on San Antonia and then left on CM Allen.
The streets were bounded by people wearing patriotic colors and holding small American flags that were passed out by a man dressed as Uncle Sam. Individuals proudly waved and shouted at their friends and family who participated in the parade. The roaring sounds of cheers, applaud and patriotism filled the small downtown square throughout the entire parade.
Texas State University junior Sydney James, 20, cheered on the parade outside of Insomnia Cookies located on Hopkins Street.
“I live at the Vistas and I had nothing better to do today, so I came here,” James said. “Honestly, I was brought to tears a few times when I saw how happy some of the veterans were. I’m really glad I ended up coming to this parade, it made my day!”
Veterans day originated on Nov. 11, 1919 at the end of World War I formally known as, “Armistice Day.” In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance and in 1938, Nov. 11 became a national holiday. Veterans Day honors all American veterans, living or dead, but gives a special thanks to living veterans who honorably served during war or peacetime, unlike Memorial Day.
Todd McLeod, 46, of Austin, Texas, saw the event occurring on his way to a job and stopped by to give thanks.
“My dad and granddaddy are no longer here with us, but they were both veterans,” McLeod said. “I figured what better way to honor them than to take a few minutes out of my day and honor all veterans.”
Military men and women who serve and protect the United States are important to their communities and come from all walks of life. According to HISTORY, 16.1 million living veterans served during at least one war, 5.2 million served in peacetime and 2 million veterans are women.
The military consists of five active branches. The Army is the oldest branch and protects the security of the United States. The Marine Corps works closely with the Navy and in combat situation is often the first on the ground. The Navy defends the world’s oceans and national interest overseas. The Air Force protects interests at home and abroad with regard on air power. Lastly, the Coast Guard protects the public, the environment, economic and security interests.
Susan Glaeser, 45, pays tribute to all veterans of the United States during the patriotic parade, but specifically the men in her family.
“My dad and two brothers all served in the United States Air Force,” Glaeser said. “It makes my heart happy to see all these people come out and support our veterans.