Bob Simmons, an Army Special Forces sergeant, was among the older veterans to attend.
"It’s fantastic we get to realize people really do appreciate what we did, because I was in when there was people, who were having problems with the military," said Simmons.
The guest speaker was Command-Sergeant Major Cliff Burgoyne. He praised the current generation that still serves, and those who recently retired, noting that the United States now has the largest population of young veterans since the Vietnam War.
"When thinking in terms of military service the meaning is clear, military service is providing care and security for our nation and our fellow service members may we as a country never forget our servicemen and women," said Burgoyne.
The ceremony included a special recognition for those who wore a uniform during the 19-year-long War on Terror with a plaque placed next to the main memorial plaza wall. An unexpected surprise for new veterans like Kevin Owenswalker and Lt. Col. Jason Vincent.
"It’s humbling to be amongst all the other veterans it’s kind of…I’ve kind of…join the crowd and it’s something I never saw it coming when I joined," said Vincent.
Owenswalker was also surprised by the recognition. "It’s an honor. To follow the rest of everyone else before me, so hopefully I’ll be remembered like those guys before me," he said.
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell recognized gatherings like this are difficult during a pandemic, but the event can help pull communities together.
"It’s not only therapeutic for the nation, it’s the right thing to do," he said. "These are men and women who have stood in the gap for our nation, the breach, they stood in the middle of conflict, and to have a day to honor them and recognize them is important."
The Veterans Day ceremony ended with one final salute. It was announced that a set of memorial bricks was purchased by an anonymous donor to honor the last casualties of the evacuation in Afghanistan. The names of the 13 service members who died at the Kabul airport will be etched into the bricks and placed at the center of the plaza.
Another big way veterans are being honored is a Field of Honor in Georgetown. It’s the fifth year the local Rotary Club has hosted the display of more than 1,500 American flags. It wraps up on Saturday.
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