HARKER HEIGHTS — Veterans and their families, city officials, active-duty soldiers, first responders from the police and fire departments, students in the Junior ROTC program at Harker Heights High School and other local residents gathered Thursday evening for the annual 2017 Veterans Ceremony held at the Heights Parks and Recreation gymnasium.

Emcee Pat Christ, past state council president of the Military Officers Association of America, told the more than 75 people gathered, “This simple ceremony shows honor to our veterans, our flag and the country.”

The Harker Heights Fire and Police Department Honor Guard performed the posting of the colors.

Christ reminded the crowd of the Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m., in downtown Killeen and invited everyone to attend.

Christ said, “Tomorrow is the 242nd birthday of the United States Marine Corps.”

In light of that, Harker Heights Mayor Spencer Smith, a former Marine, said, “Today is day of reflection to honor those who answered the call. Less than one percent of the population has served. Veterans are a part of the special few.”

Guest speaker was Lt. Col. James R. Crane, deputy commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment (Brave Rifles), who spoke about the unit’s history.

“I commend Harker Heights and its law enforcement officers, medics, teachers, firefighters, students, restaurant employees and people of all walks of life and infinite diversity,” Crane said

The ceremony concluded with a wreath laying, moment of silence, the playing of taps, and the singing of “God Bless America” and a benediction.

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