By Steve Walker
The 15th Annual Veterans Parade last week drew over two hundred and fifty entries of high school and junior high school ROTC students. Also participating in the event were active military members and veterans of all ages and individuals involved in various worldwide conflicts. All branches of service were represented.
The annual parade honoring America’s local heroes and those who defended our nation in time of war and peacetime, drew over 15-thouand supporters on the downtown streets of San Antonio.
Flag waving, cheering and an occasional salute from the crowd showed their appreciation as the parade progressed down the city streets.
While some participants rode on horses, others in cars and wagons, others marched. Various school bands played patriotic music as the crowd remembered the sacrifices of those who served their country with honor and distinction.
All the local VFWs and American Legion posts participated as well in the honoring of those who died in battle, since passed on, and those that are still with us.
The parade sponsored by the U.S. Military Veterans Parade dedicated the annual parade to Abelardo (Abel) V. Miranda, Sergeant First Class, USA/Retired who passed away March 22nd of this year.
Miranda was a U.S. Marine with combat during the Korean War as well as the Vietnam War.
Awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, the Combat Infantry Badge and an Army Commendation Medal he was a charter member of the U.S. Military Veterans Parade Association and active member of VFW Post 9186 on the Southside.
The Grand Marshal Larry Romo, a San Antonio native, currently serves as the Director of the Selective Service in the Obama Administration. He was also the Keynote Speaker. Only the second Hispanic to serve in that position, he follows in the footsteps of former San Antonio native Director Gil Coranado who served in the Clinton Administration.
In his keynote address, Romo challenged those gathered, to honor the veterans year round and remember their great sacrifices and accomplishments.
I was fortunate to ride in the carriage with Delia Guajardo the president of the U.S Military Veterans Day Parade event with her daughter and granddaughters alongside Congressman Joaquin Castro. Hanging off the side of the carriage with camera in one hand and the other holding on for dear life, I was able to chronicle the event in photos and write this column.
One of the particular groups that marched in the parade carrying a sign caught my eye. Seven women of all ethnic backgrounds wore matching pink shirts that were engraved with the caption “Women are Veterans too!”
In talking to them before the parade started, they informed me that they all had served and represented all five branches of the military. I saluted them and thanked them for their service.
The local high schools were also well represented. I was especially pleased to see the Memorial High School band and ROTC cadets performing. Since I taught there earlier in my teaching career, it was good to see participation from La Memorial as it is still affectionately known.
As a veteran who served in Viet Nam, Desert Storm and other tours, I am proud once again to be a part of the U.S. Military Veterans Parade of San Antonio created and organized by my good friend, Delia Guajardo.
To her and all my fellow veterans I say, “Thank you for your service.”
As Always, I write just a thought.
Steve Walker is a Viet Nam Veteran, former Journalist and Justice of the Peace.