Celebrating the Texans Who Served the Country
Hundreds of veterans and their supporters marched up Congress Avenue Wednesday to the state capitol, where a commemoration ceremony took place for Veterans Day. Among those attending were Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
“If you know someone who has served, someone who is serving; if you know the family of a service member — do not waste any moment. Thank them for their service before it is too late,” Abbott said.
In the audience Wednesday stood Sharon Carr, who served in the Army for 23 years and now lives in Austin. Carr says that on this Veterans Day, she wants people to follow current events and pay more attention to the cost of war.
“If they send in the U.S., it’s always our soldiers, and so we have to be mindful of the people we see everyday in our city. And sometimes they’re not always in uniform. We have to just take a good look at ourselves," Carr says.
The oldest living veteran of World War II — 109-year-old Austinite Richard Overton — was not able to attend Wednesday's parade. He is being treated at Saint David’s Hospital for pneumonia. His family member Martin Wilford says Overton's condition is stable.
“He’s in good spirits, and the family is requesting prayer. That’s all he needs at this time is prayer.”
Overton was part of an all-black Engineer Aviation Battalion in World War II. He served in the Pacific Theater and fought at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Desert Storm veteran Daniel Ladd, who attended the event Wednesday, served 16 years in the Navy. He lives in Austin and says America should do more for veterans who have nowhere to live.
“There shouldn’t be a homeless veteran in the United States,” Ladd says. “They’ve given to their country, and its time for their country to give back to them. A lot of people think, ‘Well that’s just another handout.’ I think it’s something that the veterans have earned that have fallen that far down in society. They need help.”
Austin Mayor Steve Adler pledged earlier this year to house all the city’s homeless veterans by today. The House the Heroes program did not meet its deadline, but it has found housing for almost half of the 200 homeless veterans counted in the last count of homeless people.