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Government/Politics

Texas Veterans Honored At State Capitol

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Ryan Poppe
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Texas veterans from across state flocked to the state capitol to celebrate this Veterans Day.  The event was also a chance for veterans to speak out about the ongoing needs and challenges they face in their daily lives.

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Credit Ryan Poppe
Members of Ft. Hood's 1st Mounted Calvary Color Guard

The 1st Calvary Mounted Color Guard from Ft. Hood ushered in the 63rd Veteran’s Day ceremony at the state capitol as hundreds of veterans and military families from all across the State of Texas make the trip to Austin once a year to honor one another and remember the fallen.

Poteet native Tony Martinez made the drive to Austin.  Martinez served in the Army during the Vietnam War from 1970-71.  When asked what this day means to him, Martinez had this to say to the next generation of soldiers:

“Don’t let anyone get inside your head, if you live here then you live in the greatest country in the world and you need to defend it,” Martinez told a group of elementary-aged children cheering him who were cheering him on along the parade route.

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Credit Ryan Poppe
State Capitol Veteran Day keynote speaker Marine staff Sgt. Johnny Jones

The event’s keynote speaker was Marine Staff Sgt. Johnny Jones, who after losing both of his legs to an Improvised Explosive Device in Iraq offered the crowd at the capitol this powerful plea:

“If you are an employer, please weigh 8 years of combat experience next to a graduate degree, if you are a preacher or community leader, please look for the things these men and women bring to your community that will only make your community better,” Jones says.

Starting in January, Texas lawmakers plan to explore how to cut military veterans unemployment rates, whether to continue to extend college benefits to military families and should veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder be allowed to use medical marijuana.