Palestine is coming together the weekend before Veteran's Day to let those who served know they are appreciated.
A Friday breakfast event, followed by a Veteran's Parade on Saturday, will honor the city's veterans and their families.
The sixth annual Veteran's Day Breakfast will run from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., Nov. 8, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 110 N. Line St.
Military veterans – active duty and reserve personnel – as well as their families are welcome to enjoy pancakes, eggs, and all the trimmings – served up by grateful volunteers.
“It truly gives us a sense of support,” Anderson County Veterans Service Officer Vernon Denmon told the Herald-Press Friday. “Like us in the military, these volunteers get nothing out of this besides a sense of service.”
Denmon, 71, a Vietnam combat veteran, said vendors and volunteers have been hard at work, planning the event for a year.
“The vendors and volunteers stepped up beyond the call of duty,” he said, perusing his list of more than a dozen businesses and organizations that helped plan the breakfast. “This breakfast gets better each year. I hope Palestine always remains a community that remembers its veterans.”
Denmon is also involved in the Veteran's Day Parade, which kicks off at 10 a.m., Nov. 9, on the east side of the Anderson County Courthouse.
“I'm looking forward to rubbing shoulders with Maj. Gen. (retired) Phillips,” Denmon said. “He really gave back to the community, and that's what it's all about.”
Phillips, for whom Palestine's Maj. General John Phillips Park on Spring Street is named, will be the parade's Grand Marshall. Phillips, born in Anderson County, was a fighter pilot with the U.S. Air Force, where he served nearly 30 years.
Phillips was named Deputy Under Secretary of Defense during the Clinton administration.
Members of multiple veterans organizations, including the Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars, will march shoulder-to-shoulder through Palestine. Denmon hopes the community will come out and watch – but hopes even more will participate.
“People and organizations can still apply to be in the parade,” Denmon said. “Many local businesses, like All Star Ford and Elliott Chrysler, have already joined in by lending us vehicles for the parade.”
Reading from a plaque on the wall of his Veterans Services office, Denmon recited the motto of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
“Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,” he said, solemnly. “That is why this parade is important. Our veterans have to know we care.”
For information on the parade, or how to apply to participate, call Diane Davis at (903) 922-9738. Applications can also be picked up at the Palestine Visitor's Center, at 825 West Spring St.
In addition to community volunteers, the Veteran's Breakfast is sponsored by: City of Palestine; Palestine Police and Fire Departments; Walmart, Hampton Inn & Suites; Owens Tire Company; Taylor's Landscaping; Becca's Massage Therapy; Cotton Patch; Mail & More; Crockett Road Church of Christ; Veterans for Higher Education; Disabled Veterans of America #63; American Legion, Chapter 85; American Legion Auxiliary #85; Veterans Service Association; Whataburger; All Star Ford & Autoplex; Elliott Chrysler; and KYYK 98.3.