The Office of Military Affairs at Texas A&M University-San Antonio participated in the 20th Annual San Antonio Veterans Day Parade Nov. 9.
Faculty and students of A&M-San Antonio rode the university’s float, while some marched alongside from the Avenue E to Houston Street.
The float included some of A&M-San Antonio’s school colors: silver, black and white, along with the school’s mascot, the Jaguar, on the side of it. Participants wore red and dressed casual, with red, white and blue beads around their neck. They waved American flags toward the crowd.
Diamond Callender, criminology major; Kalex Robledo, a biology major; and Emily Gonzalez, criminal justice major — all freshmen at A&M-San Antonio— were among those participants.
“It was really fun; I feel like everyone should have come and paid homage to the veterans, and we had a good time,” Callender said. Robledo and Callender walked beside the float while Gozalez stood on the float that represented A&M-San Antonio and the military affairs office.
Gonzalez said she enjoyed seeing all the veterans and “showing them support, showing them that we are here for them and saying thank you for their service.”
The morning kicked off at 8:30 a.m. in Alamo Plaza with an ROTC Drill Team competition with local high school students. The competition was followed by a Wreath Presentation Ceremony. The wreath honors the men and women who have fallen but are never forgotten.
High school ROTC students flooded the streets as their families sat along the side lines to show their support. Veterans embraced the smiles, waves and handshakes of civilians as the community showed support and appreciation for the sacrifice of the men and women who served.
Veterans from various backgrounds came out to pay their respects to others, and they proudly wore their hats, held their flags and saluted the fellow veterans throughout the parade.
Mark Jauregui, a San Antonio native who served in the United States Navy for eight years said, “senior veterans and Vietnam vets did not have it as good as the soldiers do now.”
Complimentary U.S. flags were passed out to the crowds before and during the parade. The streets were decorated with red, white and blue and the Texas-A&M University San Antonio float stood out as it floated by the attendees.
Many proud veterans wore their uniforms in honor of their branch of service and the era served.
Richard Delgado, Jr. director of Military Affairs at Texas A&M University-San Antonio and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, encouraged all veterans to get involved with the campus, and the Veterans Day Parade.
“A&M-SA has a week long of events honoring our country and prior service members, starting today with our presence in the Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 9, to show our support as veterans attending A&M-SA, and also to those within San Antonio,” Delgado said.
Along with A&M-SA students John Perales also attended the parade. A 94-year-old World War II and Army Airborne veteran, Perales served under Gen. George S. Patton during the battle at Normandy. June 6, 1944 – July 1944. It was the largest amphibious invasion attack in history against German positions at Normandy, France.
His thoughts on the community support for veterans and recognizing their prior service and sacrifices got Perales emotional. He mentioned friends who gave their life and never returned home, and to all those he saw who lost limbs and in some cases will never walk again.
“The best part of the parade was the American-made hot rods, our American cars were the best.” Perales said.“The parade today reminded me that I was proud to be an American, and that the people of this community remember and appreciate the sacrifices veterans made to protect what we have, so they could continue to enjoy living free in America.”
Parents of high school students in ROTC came out to support their children in the parade. Rebeca Garza said she was most excited to see her son, a student at Central Catholic High School, march in the parade for the first time.
Floats filled the streets as civilians shouted “thank you for your service;” some floats paid tribute to loved ones who served and died.
The parade ended with live music, free face painting, food vendors, local artists and radio stations in Milam Park. The community and veterans were able to unite as one while honoring the veterans of a military city.
Daniel Martinez, a veteran who served four years in the Air Force, sat with his family waiting for the parade to start. Martinez came out to pay his respects as well as watch his grandsons who were marching in the parade with their ROTC band from Ronald Reagan High School.
“The bands, the organizations,” Martinez said. “I like it all, really.”