HOUSTON – Houstonians are celebrating veterans Friday with the annual Veterans Day Parade downtown.
More than 300,000 veterans call the Houston area home, and more and more from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are expected to make the region their home in the coming years.
Thousands of supporters lined the parade route late Friday morning.
The grand marshal for this parade is Maj. Lisa Jaster. She’s the Houstonian who made headlines around the world recently for being one of only three women to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger Program.
The wife, mother and engineer is also the first female Army Reserve officer to become a Ranger.
The mayor, city council and state and U.S. lawmakers, like Sen. Ted Cruz, honored her and other veterans on the steps of City Hall.
At the same time just steps away, several employers held job and health fair earlier for veterans. Some who have served told said with a new commander in chief on the way, they're hoping to continue to see positive changes.
“He's in charge so I'm hoping that he'll change something, you know, cause people do need work," Alex Chavis said.
"One time I heard him say they're treated like second class citizens, and we should make ‘em first class citizens. And so, I appreciate that. And just make sure the VA's doing what they do, what they need to do for veterans,” veteran Bryan Chapman said.
Mayor Sylvester Turner also promised the city will continue working to house homeless veterans and make sure they get the services and benefits they need.
The mayor said it's not enough just to thank veterans for their service. When they come home, they need to be treated like home.
Something thousands of people tried to make a reality here.