By CHERIL VERNON
The City of Palestine is going red, white and blue — hosting a free breakfast and patriotic program for area veterans and active military in celebration of Veterans Day.
The breakfast will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8 at the Palestine Civic Center. The event will be hosted by the Palestine Police Department and various veterans groups including: Veterans Historic Education Center, Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, American Legion Auxiliary, Veterans Service Center, Vietnam Veterans of America and Associates Chapter 991, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3907, VFW 3907 Ladies Auxiliary and Palestine Economic Development Corp.
The breakfast will include pancakes, eggs, biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon, dessert, and coffee as well as orange juice. PPD Lt. Jeff Powell and Palestine fire Chief Alan Wilcher will serve as the chefs.
“We welcome everyone to come out. We are just pleased about all of our volunteers and sponsors who have come out to support and help us,” Palestine Police Chief Robert Herbert told the Herald-Press. “This is our second annual veterans' event and we are hoping that all the veterans come out. I'm hoping that hundreds of people attend, not just those from Palestine, but from Anderson County and any adjacent towns close by.”
Herbert feels strongly about showing appreciation for those who have served in the armed forces. Herbert served in the Army, mobilized three times, the first time in Desert Storm in Fort Hood and two mobilizations in Fort Bliss. He has served 33 ½ years in the military reserve.
“A veteran myself, this event is something that is very close to my heart,” Herbert said.
The program will kick off with a Color Guard at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. PPD Chaplain Officer Joe Tinsley will give the prayer.
Speakers will include Major General James K. “Red” Brown from the 360th Infantry Division and Staff Sgt. Shawn Becker from the Tyler Recruiting Unit. Becker served two years in Iraq and two years in Afghanistan.
“I think the Major General can show from the administrative side of the house things as far as resources and first-hand stories from the trenches with the troops, that he was there with his guys,” Herbert said. “Sgt. Becker is well decorated and served his country well during two tours. He can expound on his ability to do his job and the things he did over there as well.”
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary will recognize the Blue Star and Gold Star families.
The Palestine High School Wildcat Band will perform as well as the Palestine Junior High School Choir. PJHS Drama Club will perform a skit. PHS culinary arts students will help prepare and serve the breakfast.
“I want to thank the administration of Palestine High School for allowing the students to participate,” Herbert said.
A flag presentation and retiring of the colors also will be held.
Veterans are encouraged to bring their families, spouses and/or their caretaker with them to the event. Local nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been contacted about the event.
“We've reached out to them to bring their veterans to the event,” Herbert said.
For those who cannot attend the full program, but would like breakfast, plates can be made to-go, if needed.
“We encourage everyone to stay for our program if they can,” Herbert said.
Businesses helping with the veterans' event include Denny's, Whataburger, Chip's Burger Village, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, Sonic of Palestine, Brookshire, Candis Lively, Knights of Columbus, Encompass Home Health, DME & Grace Home Health Services, Jordan Health Services and Dogwood Trails Assisted Living.
Those planning to attend the breakfast can call 903-731-8461 to RSVP during regular business hours. An RSVP is not required, but may help with planning.