The American Legion Post 157 of Bandera hosted the 20th annual Bandera Honors Veterans program and parade on Saturday, November 12.
Master Sergeant (Retired) Christopher Dion of the US Air Force was the Master of Ceremonies.
Bandera resident and veteran Fidel Ramirez (deceased) organized the event in 2002 to honor the 1800 veterans who are members of the Bandera community.
The Naval ROTC unit from Bandera High School posted the colors to start off the program. David Main led the audience in the national anthem. After the invocation led by Brian Casteel, Captain in the US Army, the San Antonio Pipe and Drums Corps played a medley of patriotic anthems. County Judge Richard Evans spoke briefly to thank the veterans for their service.
Keynote speaker Major General Robert D. LaBrutta delivered a message praising all involved in the program and the various branches of the military. His positive message about serving in the military was inspiring.
General LaBrutta was the Director of Military Force Management Policy, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, Headquarters US Air Force in Washington D.C.
General LaBrutta enlisted in the Air Force in 1981. He served in a wide variety of assignments to include base level, the Air Force Personnel Center, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a major command, and combatant staff. His command tours include squadron, group, two wings and a numbered air force.
Bandera local Jerry Neuenschwander, who has two sons in the US Army, sang for the group and metal artist Aaron Bialaszewski presented a piece of patriotic metal art to the Legion. Chip Gavlick from the Lakehills Baptist Church gave the Benediction.
The veterans were then invited to participate in the parade by riding in specified floats. Thirty entries were set to participate in the parade. The parade stopped at several spots along Main Street to be announced to the crowd.
As usual, the crowd saw plenty of horseback riders, motorcyclist and the Bandera High School Band walking in the parade.
After the parade, the veterans and their spouses were served a barbeque luncheon on the Courthouse lawn. The American Legion would like to thank its supporters: Ashley Heinen Photography, Bandera City Marshal’s Office, Bandera County Commissioners, Bandera County Republican Women, Bandera Lowe’s Market, Bandera Pro Rodeo Association, Ben E. Keith Company, Boy Scout Troop 146, Boyle’s Hardware, Buddy’s Septic and Water Well, Circle M Ice, Country Cottage Salon, Guillot Realty, JM Artisan Baked Goods, Lions Club of Bandera, Military Metal Art Inc., Tessa Kolodny Photography, TJ’s at the Old Forge and TXN Bank.