A U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter swept through the blue skies above a crowd of Las Vegans during Veterans Day services.
David Salazar, a veteran and County Commission chairman, reminded the audience of sacrifices made by veterans.
“I have had the opportunity to speak to a variety of audiences, but I have never spoken to an audience that represents those people who have given up more and done more for our country than American veterans. We all know or have heard of the men and women who went off to fight and never returned.”
Salazar also said commitments such as health care should be honored. He said while most came home and rebuilt their lives and succeed, some were left behind.
“Many gave up everything when they went off to war, but did the government stand up for the veterans? I don’t think so. But one thing I’ve learned is, we’re a family — they’re our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, friends, and people from the community who we knew, loved and grew up with,” Salazar said.
Mayor Tony Marquez called those who would do America harm “cowards” and called for a renewed effort to honor veterans.
“To those who have fought in previous wars, these are the good people who step up to the plate and sacrifice their lives to protect my country, so that my children can grow up and enjoy America’s democracy,” the mayor said.
Sgt. Roberto Garcia was recognized during the ceremony. He received the Silver Star, the nation’s second highest honor, for service in Tae Jon, Korea. Garcia earned five Bronze Star Medals and two Purple Heart Medals.
Ray Leger, who died Aug. 13, 2009, was also eulogized as a local soldier who served in the Army occupation of Japan.
Gladys Hightower sang the national anthem and “Amazing Grace.”