Military veterans received a big thank you Tuesday.
At the 2014 Veterans Day Parade in downtown Fort Worth, students from Cooper Christian Academy in Crowley displayed signs reading: “Thank You for Your Service” and “Thank You Veterans.” The students also passed out cards with messages of gratitude.
“It’s very important to let veterans know that what they have done hasn’t gone unnoticed,” said Trent Taylor, 14.
Stormi Swaynie, 14, held a sign that read: “You are our hero!”
“I just want to say thank you because they risked their lives for all of us,” Swaynie said.
The parade is organized by the Tarrant County Veterans Council, and this year, Fort Worth received a national designation by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Other ceremonies were held across North Texas, including at Veterans Park in Arlington and a parade in downtown Dallas.
The Fort Worth parade drew thousands of spectators who began lining downtown sidewalks before 10 a.m. Organizers said about 8,000 people participated in the parade, including active military members. Parade participants marched from LaGrave Field at about 10:30 a.m. and traveled south along North Main Street to downtown Fort Worth.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price spoke during the opening ceremonies in Sundance Square Plaza, telling veterans, “Today is your day.”
“We are thankful for what you gave,” Price said.
The parade featured several local high school bands, including those representing Arlington Heights, Southwest and Wyatt high schools. More than 3,000 students in Junior ROTC programs from the Fort Worth, Burleson, Crowley and Keller school districts marched in the parade, as did at least 30 veteran organizations.
Tuesday’s festivities commemorated the 200-year-old national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner .
Showing thanks was a strong theme among spectators. Many veterans and active-duty personnel were stopped and thanked by strangers who offered handshakes.
“I always come out to celebrate the living and the dead veterans,” said Marty Beeman, a 57-year-old Army veteran. “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for veterans.”