By Sgt. Apryl N. Bowman, 24th Press Camp Headquarters:
(El Paso, Texas, Nov. 16, 2017)
Thousands of El Pasoans lined downtown sidewalks to honor veterans for their sacrifices and dedication during the United American Veterans Organization of El Paso’s Veterans Day Parade Saturday.
Dozens of El Paso area high schools, veterans’ groups and local politicians participated in this year’s parade. The annual parade also featured representatives and military personnel from all branches of the armed services in the region.
“This day is so big, and it makes me feel so proud that people see America for what it is. It’s our greatest thing that we have going,” said Ka Davis, a member of the United American Veteran’s Organization of El Paso and organizer of the parade. “It is a military town and I am honored to have Fort Bliss participating in full again this year.”
Veterans Day is a U.S. legal holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars. In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I, then known as “the Great War.” Commemorated in many countries as Armistice Day the following year, Nov. 11th became a federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and Korean War, Armistice Day became legally known as Veterans Day.
Veterans who marched represented those who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Desert Shield, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
“I don’t look at things the same way I suppose that young people do today,” said Lamont A. Scarbrough, a Marine Corps veteran. “I used to ask why did we make it? Why did we survive? And I came to realize it was up to us to make sure the word still went out that service is important. Veterans Day is and will always be important, so if you see a veteran please thank them.”
According to Michael Brady, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, there is a big need to honor “all” veterans who have served for all the freedom we enjoy today.
“On Memorial Day we remember veterans we have lost, but Veterans Day is to celebrate those who live,” Brady said. “There should be no difference between those of us who have seen combat and those who volunteered in peacetime, active-duty members and Reservists, 20-year careers and two-year enlistments.
“These are all Americans who, for a time, invested their lives in service to our nation and have become direct participants securing our independence,” Brady said.
Brig. Gen. Mark H. Landes, deputy commanding general, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, said it was an honor to see so many people come out to support Veterans Day. The best moments for him were watching all the young children, he said.
“It was really great to see all of the kids out there,” Landes said. “Fantastic parade. It really shows the support we have from the city of El Paso to Fort Bliss, but more importantly to our armed services.”