By JACOB LOPEZ
On Nov. 11, citizens of San Benito thanked the men and women who served and continue to serve their country at the city’s annual Veterans Day march and ceremony.
The festivities began with a march from City Hall on Sam Houston Boulevard Tuesday to the San Benito Veterans War Memorial near the railroad tracks.
Veteran and Chairman of the San Benito Veterans’ Advisory Board, Victor Garza, served as the master of ceremonies.
After a performance of the Star Spangled Banner by Madelyn Victoria, guest speakers shared their poetry and thoughts.
Veteran John Garcia, who was in attendance, and served from 1976 to 1998, felt several mixed emotions.
“A lot of us left our homes when we were young,” said Garcia, who enlisted when he was 28 and retired at 42.
“We miss a lot of birthdays … marriages … we miss a lot of things when we’re overseas,” he said.
Garcia said that he’s not originally from San Benito and joined the military while living in Chicago.
“There is more military” in San Benito, Garcia said, especially considering its relatively small size.
“Our children have started serving, so now they have started recognizing…,” explained Garcia, saying that he’s seeing more recognition for veterans and their sacrifices.
Garza, who has become known in the community for his involvement with veteran affairs in San Benito, felt that the crowd and turnout were “great.” This was particularly significant to him because much of the public was working or going to school during the hours that the march and ceremony took place.
According to Garza, San Benito has been holding its Veterans Day ceremony since 2002.
“Since then, we’ve seen other communities follow our lead,” said Garza, “which is great.”
The San Benito Veterans War Memorial is still a work in progress. Garza said that there is still more planned for the facility and is currently waiting for more funding to pay for additions.