TEMPLE, Texas – The Temple VA kicked off Veteran’s Day a few days early by formally thanking servicemen and women on Friday.
Scores of veterans and their families braved the cold for the outdoor ceremony. The day was especially important for David Stuart, who came to honor his late father, a World War II veteran who was wounded in Normandy on D-Day.
“I would like to ask him if I made him as proud of me as I was proud of him,” Stuart says. “He was a great man. I miss him dearly.”
The effects of these kinds of ceremonies is not lost on Stuart, who is also a veteran and knows the power of saying “thank you” to those who served.
“It’s awesome to have your grandson hand you a card and say ‘thank you for your service,'” Stuart says.
The ceremony was held outside the hospital and featured a patriotic musical showcase by the Holland High School band and tokens of thanks from prominent guest speakers. U.S. Representative John Carter showed his gratitude in true Texas fashion.
“But I wanna say, I tip my hat to you, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of the United States Government as their representative here in Central Texas,” Carter says, as he removed his khaki cowboy hat and held it over his heart. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being willing to serve and to continue to serve our great communities as you live a civilian life.”
Of course, the feeling of patriotism surrounding Veteran’s Day is felt even stronger around Central Texas.
“People love veterans, Texas loves its veterans and to have them come out in such cold weather and sit and pay attention and participate, it’s just very….very heartwarming,” says Temple VA director Michael Kiefer.
The hospital also added 50 names to the Veteran’s Wall near the entrance of the complex. One of the names added was that of Charles Stuart, David’s father, a source of pride not lost on David. He vows to carry on his father’s legacy.
“I try to do for my kids and grandkids like he did for us and his grandkids,” Stuart says.
While the official holiday is not until Monday, the hospital says every day is Veterans Day.