Fort Worth

Fort Worth Veterans Day Parade a time to reflect for many vets

Polytechnic High School Alumni greet veterans at the annual downtown Veterans Day Parade in Fort Worth on Friday.
Polytechnic High School Alumni greet veterans at the annual downtown Veterans Day Parade in Fort Worth on Friday. jlmarshall@star-telegram.com

For Jorge Morales, the Veterans Day parade brings back the sense of camaraderie he had in the Army.

“It’s all about the brotherhood,” Morales said. “I think about when we were all together in Iraq. There was closeness you just can’t replace.”

The annual parade through downtown Fort Worth on Friday included plenty of pomp and circumstance, including a C-130 flyover that buzzed the skyscrapers, numerous high school bands and ROTC groups. The grand marshal was Shannon Spake of the National League of POW/MIA Families, whose father is missing in action in Vietnam.

In a week where the presidential election stirred strong emotions across the country, Morales said he hoped the parade — and similar celebrations across the country — calmed some of the nation’s frayed nerves.

It’s a good time to remember what unifies us, to bring everybody together and thank those who served this country.

Arlington resident Jorge Morales

“It’s a good time to remember what unifies us, to bring everybody together and thank those who served this country,” Morales said.

Fort Worth resident Richard Martin, who retired from the Navy in 2004, still works as a civilian employee for the Air Force at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth.

To him, Veterans Day is more about those who came before him.

Both his father and grandfather were in the Navy. His father was in Vietnam and subjected to Agent Orange, a chemical that has caused long-term health problems for many veterans. His grandfather was in the Navy during World War II.

“I think about them because they’re no longer here,” Martin said. “They saw combat. I did not. It was very different experience for them.”

San Diego resident Daniel Benitez stood near the Tarrant County Courthouse with his granddaughter, Nyomi. He was seeing his first Veterans Day parade in Fort Worth.

Benitez, who retired from the Navy in 2008, was visiting his daughter and son-in-law in Keller; both are in the Marine Corps.

Benitez was amazed at the number of participants in the parade.

“I know many communities around the country support veterans but none more so than Fort Worth,” Benitez said. “I can’t believe all of the high school ROTC groups marching in the parade. You wouldn’t see that back home.”

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna

Sergeant Alexander Planadeball, an active Army Logistics Sergeant and Iraq Veteran, surprised his daughters on Friday at a Veteran's Day assembly.

When 83-year-old veteran Ken Dillard isn’t involved with church activities, or busy at home doing yard work, planting daffodil bulbs and fall pansies, he spends several days each month stationed behind the popcorn machine at the Veterans Affairs O

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