HOUSTON - The city is already setting up for Saturday's big Veteran’s Day event, which will include a ceremony and resource fair, but many people and veterans are upset after finding out just days ago, the parade has been canceled.
As the week wound down, it was a calm and cool Friday afternoon in downtown Houston. It’s hard to believe it was a completely different scene just last Friday.
And while at this time, any other year, the city would be gearing up for yet another parade, this year, they’re not.
“I would just hope for a little grace and understanding that we’re doing the best that we can to really throw a good celebration and a good ceremony of veteran service, and this is kind of a one time deal," said Carl Salazar, Director for the City of Houston Office of Veterans Affairs.
Salazar says it was really the only decision that made sense to them.
“People don’t usually attend that much on Saturday and Sunday. It’s just a historical thing," Salazar said.
Before Harvey hit Houston, the Office of Veterans Affairs and Office of Special Events decided not to have the parade because it falls on a Saturday. Officials were worried about hosting the parade on a weekend because there would be less people downtown, according to the City of Houston.
That and the 9/11 Heroes Run postponed during Harvey was also rescheduled for Saturday morning. The says the two events, he said, would have been too difficult to handle.
“We didn’t come up with excuses," said veteran Ray Field, who served for 32 years.
But veterans, like Field, say that’s not good enough.
“It’s the only one day they’ve set aside to honor, strictly to honor and to allow us to honor each other, and then they want to come up with a lame excuse," Field said.
Military wife Audrey Blythe goes to the parade every year. She says it’s more important now than ever because of Harvey.
“We saw our military out there. We saw our Coast Guard out there. We saw our ordinary citizens. We saw the Cajun Navy, and I guarantee you, the people in the Cajun Navy and the ordinary citizens, we had veterans among those groups," Blythe said.
Salazar says he just hopes people understand this is a one time thing, and the parade is coming back next year.
The celebration will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday and will continue with the AARP Veterans Job & Resource Fair lasting until 12 p.m. in Hermann Square at City Hall. Symbols of Freedom, presented by Wells Fargo, will feature military displays and activities at City Hall.
The traditional Veterans Day Ceremony presented by H-E-B will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday on the steps of City Hall with a 21-Gun Salute. The ceremony will end at 11 a.m. with a moment of silence in memory of the signing of the WWI Armistice.
All proceeds from registration will be donated to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
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