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Local veterans honored with parade, program

Posted by: tdt -

Local veterans honored with parade, program

By Bill Kelly
The Dalhart Texan

Veterans in Dalhart and the surrounding area were honored on Veteran’s Day, Friday November 11 with a number of activities in Dalhart, including both a breakfast and lunch along with a parade and a program at Central United Methodist Church (CUMC.)

The Dalhart Elks Lodge hosts a breakfast for area veterans every year, and this year was no exception. It started at 7:30 a.m. and lasted until 9:30 a.m., and was open to any veteran who heard about it.

Floats in the annual Veteran’s Day Parade started lining up at City Hall on Rock Island at 9 a.m. Despite the extremely cold wind, quite a few people still participated in the parade and came out to watch. The parade began at 10 a.m. and went south down Denrock Avenue to 8th Street. All of the local school districts participated in one way or another to show veterans support. The Dalhart High Golden Wolf Band marched in the parade, and a float with the Dalhart High cheerleaders and members of the cross country teams, football team, and volleyball team all road on a float together. The Rotary Interact Club walked in the parade, and some high school members of 4-H also walked in the parade handing out flags. FFA members greeted people at the program at CUMC following the parade. Members of the Dalhart High senior class who were not actually in the parade were there to watch the parade and the program.

St. Anthony’s Catholic School students walked in the parade as well, and older students from Dalhart Christian Academy walked while younger students rode on a float. A number of home-schooled students in Dalhart also rode on a float, recreating the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima during World War II.

Other groups in the parade included the XIT Rangers, who carried the U.S. and Texas flags along with flags for each branch of the military. XIT Rangers always sponsors a float for veterans to ride on, although this year the veterans chose to ride in cars to stay out of the cold wind.

XIT Communications had several vehicles in the parade, and also had employees who carried flags. Several members of the Dalhart Cruzers drove in the parade, some carrying veterans with them. The Dalhart Police Department and both the Dallam County and Hartley County sheriff’s offices participated as well, and some veterans also rode with them. The Dallam- Hartley Counties Hospital District, AMR ambulance service and Hartley Fire Department, along with a few other businesses, also participated.

Following the parade, the annual Veteran’s Day program was held at CUMC starting at 11 a.m. The Golden Wolf Band played the National Anthem at the start of the program and Ethan Bohr played taps at the end. Students from St. Anthony’s Catholic School led the pledge to the U.S. flag, and a couple of 4-H students explained the meaning of the pledge. Two members of the XIT Rangers presented the colors as the Color Guard.

C.J. Unruh, who was in the Army and served in the Vietnam War, acted as Master of Ceremonies for the event. Early on in the program, as veterans were asked to stand and be recognized when their time of service was given, it was announced by Unruh that Jack McMeen had passed away two days earlier, Wednesday November 9. McMeen had been the final living World War II veteran in the Dalhart area, and was the parade marshal last year.

T.C. Broom, who is the pastor at CUMC along with being a chaplain in the U.S. Army, and Mayor Justin Moore welcomed everyone to the program. Students from Dalhart Christian Academy sang each military branch’s song, with veterans standing as their song was performed. The DCA students also sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “God Bless the USA.”

Wayne Porter, a Vietnam veteran who was primarily responsible for organizing the Veteran’s Day activities for several years before passing away over the summer, was honored during the program with a special video presentation.

Sergeant First Class Christopher O’Berry, who is based in Dumas and currently works as a recruiter for this area for the U.S. Army and is working with some Dalhart High students who are interested in serving, gave the keynote address for the program. He discussed what serving in the Army has done for his life and how that made him want to show young people the potential advantages of serving in the Army, along with mentioning why he joined and some other aspects of his service.

Three members of the Rotary Interact Club-Haylee Jones, Elexia Dominguez and Joseph Gaines- talked to those in attendance about the Wreaths Across American program that the club sponsors in Dalhart. Dominguez talked about members of her family who either have served or are currently serving in the military, and Jones talked about her great-grandfather, who served during World War II.

Following Taps by Bohr and a benediction by Broom, the program ended. Veterans were then able to go to the XIT Rangers building for a lunch sponsored by the Rangers.

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