In a setting reminiscent of a movie, Mansfield citizens turned out aplenty Nov. 10 to honor veterans from their own town and beyond in the annual Mansfield Veterans Day Parade and Salute.
The second annual event drew hundreds of residents along the parade route, as well as at R.L. Anderson Stadium. In all, the event featured more than a couple dozen floats, with community groups and military marching units joining veterans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, along with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“There are never enough opportunities to say thank you to the men and women who served our country during the wars of the past and in more recent times,” Mansfield Mayor David Cook said. “This parade and salute is our chance, from our community, to honor those who grew up here and who are living their remaining years in Mansfield.”
Cook said the moment was also a time to honor young people who have chosen to serve, referencing the Junior ROTC units from the Mansfield ISD high school who marched in the parade and had the opportunity to speak with some of the older veterans and thank them for their service.
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“They understand the sacrifice and what these veterans did for us. And now they are pledging to do the same,” Cook said.
This year the JROTC units were joined by the Army National Guard and the University of Texas at Arlington ROTC unit.
The parade was sponsored by Baylor Scott and White Orthopedic Hospital in Arlington, and was presented by the City of Mansfield, Mansfield ISD and American Legion Post 624 in Mansfield.
The Legacy High School Marching Band provided music in the parade while the Lake Ridge High School Wind Ensemble performed during the salute. Also among the performers were Timberview High School soloist Leah Cepeda, and the Legacy High School Chamber Choir. The Jubilate Children’s Choir and the Mary Jo Sheppard Children’s Choir joined in along with the First United Methodist Church Mansfield Chancel Choir and Orchestra.
Elmer Ward of Mansfield, 97, served as grand marshal. He is a veteran of World War II as part of the U.S. Army 90th Infantry Division, and was among the soldiers serving on D-Day and later at the Battle of the Bulge under Generals Omar Bradley and George S. Patton.
Staff Sergeant Omar Milan, who served in the Air Force and Marines, and is also a Mansfield High graduate, spoke to the crowd at the Salute. He lost his legs in battle, and thanked his fellow soldiers, along with the community. Milan and his family recently moved into a new Mansfield home built by Mansfield Custom Homes for the organization Homes For Our Troops.
The Veterans Day Parade and Salute was launched last year at the suggestion of SFC Daniel Kinnel, Army JROTC commander at Mansfield High School.