Travis county residents stood in silent anticipation Sunday as the nation’s colors were presented at the start of Austin’s annual Veterans Day parade.
Nearly 2,000 people of all ages attended this year’s parade, which started at the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge and ended at the State Capitol. The celebration recognized every branch of the military with a salute and a short description and paid special tribute to Vietnam War veterans.
Percy Richardson, a Vietnam War veteran who attended the parade, said the turnout for the past few years has consistently amazed him. Richardson said he is glad so many average citizens recognize the sacrifice he and his peers made for their country so long ago. He said he is proud of the future generation for honoring the memories of veterans.
“It’s an honor to have everyone notice something I did with my life,” Richardson said. “Just to be associated with such fine military men — that’s an honor.”
The downtown parade concluded its journey on Capitol grounds with musical performances, prayer and another tribute to Vietnam veterans and the military branches of the U.S.
Eugene Miravete, a sophomore at Westlake High School, was presented with an award for patriotic writing at the ceremony.
Miravete said veterans should feel they are the most important people on Veterans Day, but they deserve more than just one day of respect.
“I am one of the few people [in the world] that gets to say they are American,” Miravete said. “More people should be proud that they are.”
Undeclared freshman Jose Lopez Jr., who attended the presentations held after the parade, said it was eerie how quiet the crowd was. Lopez said he could tell just by standing in the crowd that everyone had respect for all the veterans.
“The tribute to veterans from Vietnam really seemed to hit the audience hard,” Lopez said. “We should always honor those who served and gave selflessly to their country and those who continue to give today.”