On Friday, Nov. 10, the day before Veterans Day, Somervell County honored its military veterans at an assembly with Glen Rose ISD students and area residents — an event that featured Congressman Roger Williams overseeing the special recognition and appreciation given to local Vietnam-era veterans.
Somervell County veterans who were active during the Vietnam War Era were eligible to be honored with a certificate and a medallion marking the nation’s 50th anniversary of that war.
Don Nicholas, a representative for Williams, said that 46 pins were handed out on stage Friday at the GRISD Auditorium. The remainder of the more than 70 local veterans who made requests in advance for the commemorative certificates and pins asked to receive them by mail, Nicholas noted.
Students were bused in from all of the GRISD campuses for the ceremony, which included patriotic music and performances by Glen Rose choir students.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Hank Jones, a GRHS graduate, was also recognized with the presentation of a Congressional Veterans Commendation for his “exceptional community involvement and service.”
Robert Marquez, commander of American Legion Post 462 in Glen Rose, nominated Jones, and was also a guest speaker for the event along with Wiliams.
“It was amazing,” Marquez said Monday. “It was beyond anything I ever thought a veterans ceremony would be, especially honoring Vietnam vets.”
Williams (R-Austin), who represents the 25th congressional district of Texas, said that the ceremony served to remind everyone “how lucky we all are to be free.”
When the veterans in the crowd were asked to stand, the full-house assembly gave them a standing ovation.
Williams added that all branches of the military “have transformed our history,” and have been “a global force for good,” before capping off his speech by telling the veterans, “We love you, we thank you, we appreciate you and we are humbled by you.”
GRISD students also assisted in various ways during the ceremony, including setting up a traditional “Missing Man” or "Fallen Comrade" table honoring those lost in military service. The table includes a symbolic white table cloth, white candle, red rose and black napkin.
On Veterans Day, a ceremony was held on the courthouse square downtown to recognize the veterans in attendance, and a wreath was placed in memory of those lost in battle. Flags were then placed at the county cemeteries.
Somervell County military veterans were also welcomed with a luncheon at the Senior Center in Glen Rose Saturday.