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DSC 0921 webThe Veterans Day observance got off to an early start with Edinburg holding a parade Saturday morning honoring those locally who have served in the U.S. military.

Nearly 90 entries from the community were part of the event, which featured the commander and crew of the Navy ship USS Gonzalez as the grand marshals. Other units included local high school, middle school and elementary school marchers, American Legion, scout troops, city, and school officials.

One of the unique entries was the large contingent of the Edinburg High School ROTC Bobcat Battalion, with about 50 members carrying large photos of local service personnel. Many of those same pictures are part of the city’s boulevard program that has banners on utility poles and on a downtown bank.

DSC 0916 webIn the first “Most Patriotic Float” competition, first place in the business category went to the local American Legion Post. Second was the Walmart entry and third was the ECISD School Board. Among schools it was ECISD Police Recruits in first, Flores Zapata Elementary second, and NL Trevino Elementary third.

DSC 0907 webUnder sunny skies Closner Boulevard, also affectionally known as the “Boulevard of Heroes,” was lined most of the way with a large turnout of residents, many of them parents with their children waving American flags.

A number of military veterans were on hand among the spectators including Lupe Moreno, 93, who has attended just about every Veterans Day parade since the event started in the 2000s. He had served in the U.S. Army’s 88th Inf. Div. in Europe in 1952 and ‘53, during the Korean War era. He came as a rifleman and was later promoted to a section leader with the rank of staff sergeant. He said the military gave him confidence about life. He’s a lifelong resident of Edinburg who worked 30 years for the postal service in addition to being an auto mechanic.

Two couples with ties to the military became new friends at the parade. Ruben and Norma Perez, who were both in the service, met Oscar and Adrienne Mena, all of them Edinburg residents.

DSC 0931 webRuben was on active duty in the navy serving aboard the USS Independence in 1962. He was also in the reserve in the Blackhawks NAVCO’s Navy office of Community Outreach from January of 2001 to August of 2016. His wife, Norma, was in the U.S. Army serving in Glessen, Germany in the 1/333 F.A. from 1979 to 1985.

Oscar was in D Co. 108th AVN and was deployed to Iraq and Kuwait. The sergeant has been in the National Guard since 2010.

Magdiel Castle, assistant director of Cultural Art with the Library and in charge of the parade, noted the annual event is to give recognition to those who have served this country.

“We probably cannot do enough to pay tribute,” he added, “but we hope it is received in a sentiment of appreciation.”