Photos by LIBBY CLUETT | Story by CLINT FOSTER
It was the perfect day to celebrate America. The weather was a sunny and pleasant Monday morning, as thousands packed Ram Stadium to honor United States’ military veterans of the past, present and future in the 31st Annual Veterans Day program. The reds and whites of the football stadium, against the gorgeous blue Texas sky, set the ultimate scene to honor America’s heroes: Ram Stadium was a living American flag.
Students from every Mineral Wells ISD school, as well as Graford ISD and many from the community joined with past and present city, county and state elected officials and representatives from local and statewide chapters of the American Legion to form a multi-generational group, united to salute numerous veterans both in attendance and elsewhere.
American Legion Auxiliary Finance Chair Lynda Horton-Turk helped orchestrate the program this year with the help of MWISD. She said she felt very fortunate to be able to help provide the community with the ceremony for a 31st year.
“I think it’s wonderful that people come out from our community to pay respect to our veterans,” she said. “Mineral Wells, being the old home of Fort Wolters, has lots of retired military here and lots of veterans that served our country. It’s important to teach our children patriotism and service to our country. It’s great for our children to know what Veterans Day stands for.”
The Honorable Judge Jerry Ray was Master of Ceremonies for the event. He said he has never missed a single Veterans Day program after 31 years and, therefore, the ceremony holds a special place in his heart.
“This is generally recognized as one of the best, if not the best, Veterans Day celebration in this part of Texas,” he said. “I think it serves really a two-fold purpose: First and foremost, to honor the veterans. We’re blessed to live in this country and we owe them a great debt of gratitude.