Past, present and future of the military recognized, honored - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Past, present and future of the military recognized, honored

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)

Today, hundreds gathered to honor Central Texas veterans and active duty soldiers with a special celebration for serving our country.

From officials on Fort Hood to elementary school students, all came together today to pay a special tribute to those who have defended, and are currently defending, our great nation. 

"We're out here to celebrate the veterans... and they have brought us freedom," Alyra Thomas, a fourth-grade student at Jefferson Elementary School in Temple, said. 

Alyra Thomas and her classmates were just a few of many central Texans wanting to thank a veteran today. 

"We are celebrating the past, the present and the future as it relates to armed forces in Central Texas,” Rod Henry, President of Temple's Chamber of Commerce, said. 

In total, 120 veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War were honored alongside active duty soldiers from Fort Hood. 

"It's a way for us as Americans, as patriots to say thank you for your service... and that extends to Korea, that extends to Vietnam, that extends to anybody who has served in the military, served in the armed forces whether they went overseas or not," Henry added.

J.C. Alston, now 94 years old, was one of the few World War II veterans in attendance. At the age of 18, he was in the U.S. California, a battleship hit by Japanese torpedoes during the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

"They say we're heroes. We're not heroes, we came back. The heroes didn't come back... they paid the ultimate sacrifice," Alston said. 

Col. Todd Fox also turned the honor around, but this time toward the civilians in the room... 

"Today, as you honor us, I'd like to honor you. The efforts and support you provide every day prove that you do not have to wear a uniform to serve your country. And I speak for all of us here today when I say that you are the reason we serve," Col. Fox said. 

"Thank you for your service, and protecting our country," Thomas added. 

As part of the ceremony, Col. Todd Fox, the Chief of Staff for III Corps on Fort Hood, received a resolution signed by Governor Greg Abbott from State Representative Hugh Shine to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Fort Hood. 

The military appreciation luncheon was started by Frank Mayborn... and is held annually at the building named after him. 

Copyright 2017 KXXV. All rights reserved. 

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