Salute to Veterans Community celebrates those who served during annual event
The sight of American flags fluttering in the cool breeze and sunshine throughout Texarkana on Friday afternoon provided a great reason to celebrate and honor those who sacrifice to keep America free.
The good weather prompted hundreds of veterans and their spouses to flock into Williams Memorial United Methodist Church to share tales about military experiences and listen to live patriotic music during the 19th annual Salute to Veterans reception.
“With the sun shining and the wind blowing, it’s sure great to see the U.S. flags flying all over our city,” Texarkana Gazette Editor Les Minor said as he then took special note of the sound of taps being played by local bugler John Ryden.
“The sound of John performing taps is very beautiful and very resonating,” Minor said. “Next year will be our 20th annual reception, and Sunday will be Veterans Day with several commemorative services taking place here in town. We all appreciate your service to our country very much.”
Even though her husband passed away, Chris B. Terry, a Korean War Veteran’s spouse, said she still loves coming to the receptions.
“I love getting to see a lot of the people I know,” she said. “This is a real good environment and we are all here for a very good reason.”
Korean War Veteran Leo Elder said the occasion provides him a chance every year to see people he hasn’t seen all year, and his wife, Glenea, said the reception warms her heart.
“It especially makes my heart feel good to see all these men and women who kept our country safe,” she said.
Vietnam Veteran Larry David said it encourages him to listen to stories from older veterans.
“I would like to thank our World War II veterans because they saved the world and that gave me a chance to serve, too,” he said.
■ Debra Conley waves an American flag Friday during the 19th annual Salute to Veterans while Eric Shipp, not pictured, sings “God Bless America” at Williams Memorial Methodist Church in Texarkana, Texas.
■ Lawton Webb looks at memorabilia from wars during the 19th annual Salute to Veterans at Williams Memorial Methodist Church.