Patriotic citizens crowded the streets of downtown San Antonio Saturday morning to get a head start on Veterans Day celebrations in “Military City USA.” San Antonio has one of the largest active and retired military populations in the nation, meaning patriotism is deeply rooted and spread widely throughout the city.
Veterans Day is Wednesday, Nov. 11, but the weekend was more suitable to the city’s growing Veterans Day Parade. Afterwards, groups of people were seen waving hand-held American flags on the streets of downtown, active service members perused Alamo Plaza. Some veterans dressed in uniforms that signaled their service branches and years of active duty. World War II vets are no longer as common, and now Korean War and Vietnam War vets are the aging soldiers, airmen and sailors of past conflicts and distant decades.
Patricia Perry and Nita Valdez participated in the parade that began at Alamo Plaza. Perry and Valdez are members of the Texas Skaters Roller Derby, one of the nonprofits that participated in the parade, so they came wearing roller skates and patriotic clothes.
“(The parade) was very patriotic. They were playing the ‘Proud to Be an American Song’ and everybody got emotional … when they played that song,” Perry said.
Perry is a U.S. Air Force veteran.
“I am very patriotic, so anything that let’s me express my patriotism – I want to be a part of it,” she said.
Few today probably know that Veterans Day dates to the end of World War I, which at the time became known as both the “Great War” and “the war to end all wars.” World War II two decades later dispelled those assumptions, but the day continues to honor veterans of all military branches throughout the years since Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918. The Treaty of Versailles was not signed until June 28, 1919, officially signaling Germany’s capitulation and the war’s end, but Pres. Woodrow Wilson chose Armistice Day as the one to commemorate since that was when hostilities ceased.
*Top image: Patricia Perry and Nita Valdez wore patriotic clothing Saturday morning to celebrate Veterans Day. Photo by Joan Vinson.