Veterans Day 2018 is today, Sunday, November 11th, and designated as a Federal Holiday tomorrow, Monday, November 12th. As a federal holiday Veterans Day is typically observed on November 11th every year. However, if it occurs on a Sunday like this year then the following Monday is designated as the Federal holiday, and if it occurs on a Saturday then either Saturday or Friday may be designated.
When the Federal holiday and November 11th dates are different often times Veterans Day activities will take place on both days and still many activities are often scheduled the weekend leading up to Veterans Day even if both dates match.
2018 marks the Centennial Commemoration of the end of World War I on November 11, 1918. The theme for the 2018 Veterans Day Poster is: “The War to End All Wars” and featured a poppy and barbed wire. This year, the President extended Veterans Day celebrations through all of November. He issued a new proclamation designating November 2018 as National Veterans and Military Families Month.
This year’s Annual Veterans Parade was expected to draw over two hundred and fifty entries of high school and junior high school ROTC students. Also participating in the event, active military members and veterans of all ages and individuals involved in various worldwide conflicts. All branches of service are represented.
The annual parade to honor America’s local heroes and those who defended our nation in time of war and peacetime was expected to draw over 15 thousand supporters on the downtown streets of San Antonio.
Flag waving, cheering and an occasional salute from the crowd is a way to show their appreciation as the parade progresses down the city streets.
While some participants ride on horses, others in cars and wagons, others march. Various school bands played patriotic music as the crowd remembers the sacrifices of those who served their country with honor and distinction.
All the local VFWs and American Legion posts participate in the honoring of those who died in battle, since passed on, and those that are still with us.
The 2018 grand marshals of the United States Military Veterans Parade included World War II and Korean War veteran Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Reyna, U.S. Army Korean War veteran Arthur Galindo, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Hector A. Lopez and Air Force Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman, the commander of the 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio.
The parade, sponsored by the U.S. Military Veterans Parade, dedicates the annual parade to various veterans. This year was the 19th.
The 2018 Veterans Parade is dedicated to Mr. Darrel G. Harris. Harris passed away in May 2018 at age 96. He was a WWII Veteran who served 3.5 years in combat operations in Europe. He was assigned to the 504 Parachute Regiment of the 82nd Airborne and made a total of 52 jumps, including six combat jumps.
He fought in many of the major battles of WWII, including Operation Market Garden, Battle of the Bulge and the Anzio landing. In 1945, Harris became a charter member of the 82nd Airborne Association. He was also a charter member of the U.S. Military Veterans Parade Association and served faithfully for 19 years until his death.
Veterans Day at the Alamo today included the Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers Commemorative Ceremony and at the San Antonio National Cemetery, 517 Paso Hondo Street.
“It was a whole day of celebrating our veterans and We had a wreath laying ceremony for all of our deceased veterans,” said U.S. Military Veterans Parade Association member Mike Mendez.
As a veteran who served in Vietnam, Desert Storm and other tours, I am proud once again to be a part of the U.S. Military Veterans Parade of San Antonio created and originally organized by my good friend, Delia Guajardo.
To all my fellow veterans I say, “Thank you for your service.”