Posting colors

The Rockport-Fulton High School Navy Junior ROTC posted the colors at the beginning of the ceremony.

The annual Veterans Day Service was held at Veterans Memorial Park Thursday, Nov. 11. Lieutenant Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, MSC, USN (Retired) was the guest speaker. He currently serves as the Senior Naval Science Instructor, Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps for the Aransas County Independent School District. He has held that position since 2018.

“The tradition of setting a day aside to remember the veterans of America dates back to the First World War,” said Sanchez. “That war was a costly and bitter one. America alone lost 116,000 of its citizens at sea, in the trenches, and in the skies over Europe.

“Finally, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the guns went silent. An armistice was declared and the ‘war to end all wars’ was over.”

Quoting Dan Lipinski, he called for all to remember the service of our nation’s veterans, and to renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.

Recalling a deployment to Al Anbar Province in November 2005, Sanchez said, “The Marines took Fallujah in a major operation, but it came with a heavy cost to life and limb.

“What you do not hear in the news are the stores of heroism the Marines, soldiers, Airmen, and sailors exhibited during this moth-long operation, and later what the medical staff did to put these young and remarkable heroes back together.

“These are the moments when I was especially proud to be an American. The actions that unfolded during periods like this are what exemplify the American fighting spirit.”

He noted that since the birth of our nation, Americans have stepped up to serve our country to defend our way of life … rendering the highest service any American can offer.

“For us (veterans), military strength is not an end in itself. We certainly do not glory in war,” said Sanchez. “Instead, we believe it is the strength we show as a nation that prevents war and has made possible the unprecedented changes that are unfolding in the world, virtually every day.

“We veterans know better than most that the continued strength of America’s military is essential to maintaining the peace.

“This nation is what it is today because of the efforts and sacrifices of its veterans.

“(President) John F. Kennedy once said, ‘A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.’”

Sanchez noted post war trauma continues to be an issue, with almost 13% of Veterans diagnosed with PTSD, and 22 Veterans taking their lives every day.

“We celebrate this Veterans Day for a very few minutes, a few seconds of silence, and then this country’s life goes on,” said Sanchez.

He closed his speech saying, “It is important to recall (at the Veterans Day Service), and on every other moment when we are faced with great responsibilities, the contributions and the sacrifice so many men, women and their families have made in order to permit the USA to occupy its position of responsibility and freedom.”

VFW Post 3904 Chaplain Ruben Garcia provided the invocation and benediction.

The RFHS Naval Junior ROTC presented and posted the colors.

A selection of Rockport-Fulton High School choir members, under the direction of Marissa Kuertz, sang the National Anthem.

VFW member Mingo Pulido recognized the local Veterans organizations and law enforcement agencies.

Aransas County Sheriff and Rockport Police Commander Larry Sinclair laid wreaths at the base of the memorials at the park.

Rockport Mayor Pat Rios served as master of ceremonies.

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