“It is a great honor for me to be able to stand in the presence of so many of you men and women who have served our country,” said Bee County Judge David Silva, a Vietnam era veteran. “It is people like us who made our nation the nation it is. We pray and hope we will continue to produce the men and women who will serve whenever our nation calls.”
Silva was a keynote speaker at the annual Veterans Day ceremony organized by the Beeville Garden Club. The ceremony was held at the A.C. Jones High School auditorium.
The school’s band performed patriotic music and the Star-Spangled Banner.
The school’s Junior ROTC students attended in full dress uniform and acted as the color guard.
(Click here to see more photos and videos in our special Veterans Day section on this site.)
More than a dozen veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and both gulf wars were recognized for sacrificing years of their lives for their nation.
“It’s people like you; people who come from little towns, big towns and cities and metropolitan areas, who answer the call of their nation and go and serve with honor,” Silva said. “Whenever our nation called, we served. During the Vietnam era, we served; during World War I and World War II, we served. We stand as a brotherhood among men and women who have served their nation with dignity and honor and with the greatest sacrifice we could make.”
State Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles, whose Texas House district includes Bee County, also paid homage to veterans.
“We (owe) an immeasurable debt of gratitude to our veterans, and it is my honor to be able to recognize their sacrifices,” she said. “For over two centuries, we as a nation have called upon our best to stand in harm’s way in defense of our country. Time and time again we have asked free men and women to sacrifice themselves in the name of truth and justice, and time and time again they have always been there to say, ‘I will go.’
“We send our sons and daughters — our mothers and fathers — to far-flung corners of the world to share the light of freedom and save us from fear and uncertainty here at home. Our brave soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen have given their blood in the arid deserts of the Middle East and Africa, the jungles of Asia, the trenches of Europe and here at home.”
Silva reminded the audience that the nation sets aside a day each year to pay tribute to those who served and died while defending their country: Memorial Day.
Nov. 11 was originally designated as Armistice Day, a day to remember the end of WWI, but has since been redesignated as Veterans Day, a time to pay tribute to those who served in times of both peace and war, Silva said.
Their service to their country, even in times of peace, came at a price, the retired history teacher noted.
“I personally gave six and a half years of my life; others gave much more; others gave less, but that does not diminish the sacrifice they made on their part,” he said. ”Your families, your loved ones you left behind, those years will never be recovered.”
Silva recalls serving in Thailand and Turkey. “Those years are gone; I can never get them back, but I served those years with dignity and with honor; and you did the same thing and we thank you.”
Moreno Middle School also held a Veterans Day ceremony.
Students, faculty and staff viewed a slide show of America’s veterans, including photographs of seven campus employees who are veterans.
A group of students also entertained the audience by dancing the jitterbug to the sounds of the Big Band Era.
Skidmore-Tynan ISD also paid tribute to veterans with a patriotic ceremony.