Applause roared through downtown Killeen on Monday as veterans progressed along crowded streets during the annual Central Texas Community Veterans Day Parade.
Hundreds of people held flapping American flags as the parade, which honored the sacrifices and service of those past and present, went by them.
For Carese Grey and her 7-year-old twins, Antonio and Charlize, the Veterans Day parade has become a “family tradition” to show their support for their family members.
“Their dad is in the Army, as is their grandfather,” she said. “The parade is a symbolic representation of the holiday and those who have served for us.”
Grey said she also was supporting her daughter, Ka’reena, who is in JROTC at Shoemaker High School.
Charlize said her favorite part was “seeing my sister.”
Velvet Colton, Breanna Archield, Cecil Stewart and Dalvin Ray attended the parade for the first time after traveling to Killeen from Lake Charles, La., to visit family member Qiana Chavis.
“To me (the parade) means honoring the veterans,” Colton said. “It’s also symbolic of looking to the future, seeing all the children who participate in the ROTC programs.”
Archield said the parade means “freedom and independence.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Hof, III Corps and Fort Hood Rear-Detachment command sergeant major, said he will soon transition out of the Army after 31 years of service, but the number of people who lined the streets to show their support was “pretty impressive.”
“This is the first time in a number of years, being deployed, that I have had the chance to be back here for the parade,” he said. “I think this shows the support in the community for veterans. This whole area is predominately veterans, so it’s a matter of supporting your community.”
Lori Laws said she enjoys “seeing all the families come together” for the annual parade.
“Being from a military town, it means a lot to the veterans and to us to be here to celebrate and show our support,” she said.
Crowds in Copperas Cove were also treated to a patriotic Veterans Day parade. The theme was “Land of the Free Because of the Families Who Supported the Brave” and it was hosted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8577 and its Ladies Auxiliary.
The public was treated to pinto beans, cornbread and dessert after the parade.