Several people had the day off for Veterans Day. It's estimated that 1.7 million military veterans live in Texas. One of the final observances took place Monday morning at Texas State University.
The Quad, at Texas State, is typically the busiest place on campus, but Monday morning, the west end was closed off for the Annual Veterans Day Ceremony. Those who gathered were offered yellow ribbons from student ambassadors and words of advice from decorated alum.
"We are a blessed nation and with that come a responsibility..."said Col. Paul Phillips. His message was punctuated by a fly-over salute by four planes from the Commemorative Air force.
"I think there is too often that we get entangled in everything else going on in our lives as student, as, in business, and we forget about those people that allow us to get the opportunities to go to school. So that's the most important thing I want these young people to remember," said Phillips.
The colonel's words struck an emotional cord for those who have served and those who want to serve like Honor Guard member Jacob Drinkard.
"It's a duty kind of thing I think I want to serve because I feel like it is my duty to serve the country," said Drinkard.
There's a little more than 1,000 military veterans currently enrolled at Texas State. With troop reductions to continue that number is expected to increase at Texas State and at other universities. Education assistance programs are being expanded but those in place have limited resources.
"It hard to describe really, we come out here we met and greet with old friends and new friends. We are all veterans celebrating together," said Chris Hinkelman who is a former member of the Army 1st Cav.
Hinkelman is now a junior attending Texas State on the Hazelwood Act. The law pays for 150 hours of college credit for qualifying military veterans. The program is an example of going beyond annual ceremonial salutes and memorial wreaths. It's an opportunity to move forward from the battlefield- to a classroom and hopefully a new career.
Later this week several job fairs will be held across the state called hiring red white and you. The one here in Austin will be at the convention center.
FROM THE TX Veterans Commission:
On November 15, the Texas Veterans Commission will join Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Medical Center surgeon Dr. James Henry "Red" Duke, Jr., and the Texas Workforce Commission to connect Texas Veterans with Texas employers who value the experience, discipline and other exceptional qualities inherent with a military background at the Hiring Red, White & You statewide job fair.
The initiative will address the employment needs of Texas Veterans returning to the workforce, and it is open to all Texas Veterans and employers.
Each of the 28 Workforce Development Boards in Texas will host a Hiring Red, White & You job fair, which will feature an unprecedented statewide employment effort in hopes of serving those who have served for us.