MONTE VISTA — Monte Vista celebrated its veterans on Friday, Nov. 12, with a parade downtown and ceremony at Faith Hinkley Veterans Memorial Park.
The parade was headlined by the Monte Vista High School Pirates Marching Band fresh off winning a 1A State Bandmasters Association title.
A couple of hundred people lined the parade route and took photos and video and waved as the cars, trucks and marching band made their way to the park.
A large American flag was held high above the street near the park by two fire ladder trucks. The Pirates Marching Band ended the parade by performing under the flag for the crowd.
Following the parade, people moved to the bleachers in front of the Faith Hinkley Memorial for the 45-minute ceremony led by MV Mayor Dale Becker.
U.S. Coast Guard Ret. Comm. Loren Howard was the guest speaker. Howard spoke of the history of Veterans Day, which was first proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson on Nov. 11, 1919, to commemorate the end of World War I. It was originally called Armistice Day. It celebrates all who have served in the U.S. military.
Howard said he'd recently visited the place where some of his ancestors lived more than 280 years ago, Scott's Run near Alexandria, Va.
"During the Revolutionary War, they supported the Continental Army with supplies and food, they were not combatants," he said. "I expect if each of us looks back into our past, we all would find families who sacrificed in support of veterans serving this great United States of America.
"To that end, I would like to recognize all of those families who have sacrificed and supported veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. If you are a family with a veteran and are seated, would you please stand, if you are able," he said.
Everyone in attendance stood.
"I salute you and thank you," Howard said to the standing crowd.
Rachel Van sang the national anthem. The First Presbyterian Church choir sang "Amazing Grace."
Father Albert Berkmans of St. Joseph's Catholic Church gave the invocation. Bob Hauter of St. Peter's Lutheran Church and Bill Walstrom of Grace Baptist Church offered prayers. U.S. Army SP4 Steve Dunkel read Psalm 23. Chris Yocum of Valley Church of the Nazarene gave the benediction.
Two veterans from the crowd did the ceremonial ringing of the bell five times, once for each military branch. At the conclusion of the ceremony, people rang the bell in remembrance of military veterans.
MVHS band members Grace Goodland, Katie Pacheco and Faith Alexander performed "Taps."
The Color Guard consisted of U.S. Army Cmd. Capt. Eugene Farish, U.S. Army Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Larry Heersink, U.S. Army SP4 Steve Dunkel, U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Randy Robertson, U.S. Navy Seaman Kevin Dunkel and U.S. Army Warrant Officer Benito Jacquez.