In a hall recalling a military airplane hangar, area veterans Friday were served breakfast and a heaping helping of gratitude by community volunteers at Palestine's sixth annual Veteran's Day Breakfast.
Hundreds of area veterans, men and women of all ages and races, sat and broke bread together, while volunteers, also numbering in the hundreds, kept their drinks full and tables clean.
“It's important these veterans know they are appreciated,” Jennifer Berry, a fifth-year volunteer, told the Herald-Press. “They need to know the sacrifices they made are not forgotten.”
Veterans enjoyed eggs, pancakes, sausage, biscuits, and gravy, with a variety of beverages. Honors were rendered, the National Anthem played, and those killed or missing in action were remembered.
“This is unexpected for me, and very humbling,” Raymond Moore, 70, a Vietnam-era veteran, said. “It is amazing the number of sponsors, vendors, and volunteers that have come out for this. I'm from the Vietnam-era, and it hasn't always been this way.”
Walmart General Manager Adam Harding, a U.S. Navy Veteran, has supported the breakfast since it began. Walmart was one of dozens of event sponsors, providing volunteers, food, and $10 gift cards in every veteran's “goody bag.”
“Having the entire city come together fosters a community environment of true appreciation,” Harding told the Herald-Press. “Having served in the Navy, I understand the commitment made by the men and women of our armed services.
“Acknowledgement of service to them means so much.”
Larry Grant, a 68-year-old combat Army veteran who served in Desert Storm, said he was pleasantly surprised at the showing.
“This was my first time here,” Grant said. “I didn't know that many people cared. I can't believe all the work they put it; it was really nice to see.”