Veterans Day observed in Round Rock despite storm clouds

A large tent protected the Veterans Day observance in Round Rock from approaching dark storm clouds.

It also ensured the gathering could honor American heroes after a politically stormy election just earlier this week.

"I think we forget a lot of times, let politics get in the way but when it all comes down to it, we are all Americans," said Cesar Garza.

The ceremony took place near Round Rock's new Flag Plaza memorial, a point of pride for Mayor Craig Morgan. "We get to do what we do because of our veterans and their service," he said.

The nationwide observance originally marked the end of World War 1, which happened on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. 

Friday's featured speaker, Army Futures Command Sgt Mjr Brian Hester, began his remarks by reading letters. "Payton says, dear veteran, thank you for keeping us safe, and loving our country."

The letters were from local children and were given to the veterans at the ceremony.

"Unbelievable that those young, I mean we are talking about Elementary kids, that are saying thank you. And they talked about our Rights and our Freedoms. Power," said Hester who agreed the words in the letters go straight to the heart.

As rain started to fall, Shirley Marquardt was among those who huddled under the tent. She came to honor her husband Donald, who served 20 years in the Army.

"I feel his presence every day, he passed away 3 years ago. Days like today are very important. It gives everyone a chance whether they served or not, to understand what it is to serve in the military. To love your country. That was what military life was all about," said Marquardt.

The traditional salute to the military branches took place and veterans stood including several female service members, trailblazers themselves.

"And as a female veteran, I hope we can continue to pave the way, moving forward for those young little girls that want to become service members going forward," said Eric Leos, a retired Marine Corporal.

Helping the next generation is also important to retired Army Staff Sgt Dina Mabry. "We want to send that message to all females, that you can do what every you set your mind to," she said.

It was also noted that many of these veterans may have hung up their uniforms, but they continue to serve in their communities as teachers, first responders, and mentors.

There will be opportunities to honor veterans on Saturday. In Georgetown, the Field of Honor flag display will up through the morning and at noon a parade will be held in Kyle.