Austin treasure Richard Overton, 'Nation's Oldest Vet' attends Veterans Day parade

It's a November tradition that brings unity to Austin no matter what's going on in the world.
The Veterans Day Parade committee says more than 87 groups participated in Friday morning's patriotic march down the main street of Texas...including the good ol' Fox 7 crew and our service dog "Tommy" that will hopefully end up working with a Veteran someday himself.

"I haven't stopped smiling since the time I got here," said WWII Veteran Jack Maroney.

Maroney served aboard the carrier "Enterprise" during WWII.

"If all the Marines were still alive that served on the carrier Enterprise there would be about 432.  And to my knowledge there is one more still alive in Florida and myself.  So our ranks are thinning," Maroney said.

Maroney is proud to share the parade experience with his great grandson.

"It's a wonderful thrill and something that we treasure and now I'm sure that he will treasure in time to come," Maroney said.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has done a lot for Veterans in this city.  For him, Veterans Day is personal.

"Veterans Day means a lot to me.  My father was a disabled Vet coming out of World War II so it's something that hits home with me which is one of the reasons I was real happy this community rallied behind the homeless Veterans initiative we did this year.  This is a community that is real appreciative of the folks that served us and that's what today is about," Adler said.

The parade concluded on the south steps of the State Capitol with the presentation of colors, words by the Mayor and state leaders and a 21-gun salute.

Also 12 World War II Veterans from Texas were presented with the Legion of Honor from the country of France.

"The Legion of Honor is the highest award that's given for bravery to anyone who served on behalf of France," said Jim Darwin with the Veterans Parade Committee.

As the floats and marching bands passed through downtown one man was watching it all from a car window.

He's a national treasure hailing from East Austin.  At 110 years old, Richard Overton is known as the oldest Veteran in the country.

Fox 7's Tania Ortega asked Overton what it's like to connect with other Veterans on Veterans day.

"It's nice.  Every one of them is my Vet. my friend," he said.

Both Overton and Marine Corps Vet Maroney have some advice for those in the service today.

"It means they should stay in there and do it...make something out of themselves," Overton said.

"As long as we have folks that love America and what it stands for...the United States is going to do fine," Maroney said.