ELLIS COUNTY VETERANS APPRECIATION DAY
Over a span of thirteen years, this annual event has grown and evolved to create a truly remarkable occasion. It addresses our military conflicts from WWI to the War on Terror and includes all branches of service. The ceremony itself is a grateful acknowledgment by a community for its veterans and a heartfelt effort by those involved in its production. A committee and 100 volunteers are joined by the Department of Public Safety, Texas Civil Defense, civic and military representatives, church and auxiliary groups, Boy Scouts, and ordinary citizens.
An annual reading of a veteran’s story, accompanied by photos, is a visceral reminder of their character and sense of duty. Reflected from giant screens throughout the program, 700 poignant images reveal military members over the years, as well as a Memorial of young faces, forever ageless, who offered the ultimate service for their country.
The program’s music and images address the mood, triumphs, and sacrifice in our history. Processions and audience participation reflect a joint endeavor by multiple groups in celebration and remembrance.
A gathering assembles each year in honor of veterans and their service
Boy Scouts lead a responding audience in the Pledge of Allegiance
Emotions are stirred by a swing band’s music and songs relevant to each era
Various military branches participate
Veterans, standing in acknowledgment, respond to their military songs and emblems
Proud families attend with their own veterans
Fellow Soldiers Reunite
Tom Morris and Harry Hitt / WWII Ellis County Veterans
They first met on a snowy night in the Ardennes forest during the Battle of the Bulge. Tom Morris was a Lt. Col, veteran of Normandy and the entire European campaign, 2nd Infantry Division.
Harry Hitt, a tank commander, received a battlefield commission of Lieutenant and was awarded the Belgium Croix de Guerre for his actions.
Following the war, these soldiers would meet again by chance on the Ellis County Courthouse square. Unaware of being raised within mere miles of each other, they experienced the invisible threads intersecting their lives.
Veterans enjoy the camaraderie and appreciation shown for their service
The concluding program commences outdoors
Congressman Joe Barton, General Kathy Frost, and Congressman Martin Frost Previously Attend
Crowds fill the grounds for the closing events
A military honor guard follows with bagpipes, taps, and multi-gun salute
A commemorative Air Force vintage airshow for the Ellis County Veterans ceremony
The placing of a wreath concludes an emotional acknowledgment in honor of their service
“We stand on the backs of their sacrifice. Their history is our tradition, as long as there are Americans to remember…”