The west parking lot of the Erath County Courthouse was filled with veterans, family members and well-wishers Wednesday morning in salute of Veteran’s Day.

Commander Don Douglas, of American Legion Post 241, emceed the ceremony and introduced guest speaker Lt. General  (retired Army) Harry Steel of San Antonio.

Gen. Steel provided a background summary of Veteran’s Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, which is held each year on Nov. 11 in honor of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

“My family is probably a lot like yours,” Gen. Steel said. “Each generation has had one or more serve in the military. All (military) services provide a vital role in our national defense.”

Steel said veterans have been honored through several wars, piracy patrols at sea and peace-making operations, many which still exist today. He said the sacrifices made by veterans and their families should be honored because they will last a lifetime.

“Sacrifices of a military service member are not always physical,” Gen. Steel said, citing that many times service members also deal with job loss, death and other emotional crises that come from donning a uniform.

“(People) fail to distinguish between agreeing with the war and supporting those who fight it,” he said.

Patriotism is not just wearing a uniform but taking pride and part in the nation through volunteering, voting, paying taxes and serving as elected officials, Gen. Steel said.

“A person does not have to wear a uniform to be a patriot,” he said.

And patriotism is often brought out by cruel events against a country, such as Sept. 11, Gen. Steel said.

“If we were threatened, our young people would step up,” he said. “I have believed that for a long time and don’t expect it to ever change.”

Gen. Steel closed by recognizing veterans who were present.

“We are proud of you and we appreciate your service,” he said.