BRAZORIA — Mayor Roger Shugart began preparing for the official Brazoria County the Veterans Day parade as soon as he found out his city would host it, he said. He understands the importance of the day, he said.
“It’s just recognizing all the active-duty, retired people and all the veterans of this country who stood on the line and defended this country’s freedom,” Shugart said.
To start the day Monday, veterans are welcome to breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m. at the Brazoria Heritage Foundation cafeteria, 202 W. Smith St.
The parade lineup begins immediately after breakfast and will start rolling on Highway 36 from Linder Lane at 11 a.m., Shugart said. The parade will move toward Gaines Street, where the American Legion post stands, he said.
The grand marshal of the parade is a retired Army general, said Vance Verbeck, American Legion Post 561 commander.
The parade will feature floats representing different veterans organization posts, including the Marine Corps League and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Verbeck said. Everyone always enjoys the fire trucks, he said.
But the best part for the veterans riding on the floats is “seeing the reaction from the parade viewers, who are out there to thank the vets,” Verbeck said.
At the end of the parade at about 1 p.m., there is a shuttle that will pick people up and bring them back to the Heritage Foundation for the Veterans Day program, Shugart said. Local schoolchildren will perform the program, which will last about an hour, he said.
The whole thing is over when the sheriff’s honor guard fires their rifles, the Texas Militia fires its cannon, and a high school band student plays taps on a trumpet, Verbeck said.
It’s important for residents and families to come out to the celebration, Shugart said. Children might be unaware of how important the day is, so they can learn on Monday, he said.
“Freedom is not free,” Shugart said. “We have to protect the borders from the evil that wants to come here and destroy it.”
Shugart knows this as an Army veteran himself, who defended B-52 bombers as a missile tracking radar specialist, destroying aircraft coming to attack the bombers, he said.
“Veterans Day is a day to thank all veterans, living and who have passed, for the service they’ve given to the country,” Verbeck said.