Despite a breezy morning and a change to the start time, a crowd gathered at the Erath County Courthouse this morning to honor those who have served at the 96th Annual Turnbow-Higgs American Legion Post 240’s Veterans Day Ceremony.

The program’s keynote speaker was Lt. Col Marty Deckard, US Army, who is the Professor of Military Science of the US Army Reserve Officers Training Corps program at Tarleton and an Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran.

In his remarks he pointed to “Five traits expected of all who serve: Military expertise, honorable service, trust, esprit de corps, and stewardship of the profession of arms.

“These traits are grounded in the oath all veterans take – to protect and defend the US Constitution, the founding document of the United States of America,” Deckard said.

Following his speech, all veterans in the audience saluted during the playing of Taps, and Tarleton State University ROTC provided the color guard and the TSU firing team performed a three-volley rifle salute.

“Turnbow-Higgs American Legion Post 240 of Stephenville has sponsored a Veterans Day ceremony at the court house square every year since 1921,” said Post 240 Adjutant Roger Easter. “It’s a very small token of appreciation for those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today.

“All war-time veterans of the American Legion salute our fellow veterans throughout this wonderful nation including those who are currently serving in the armed forces.

“On this veterans day we ask you to honor your employees, neighbors, and family members who are veterans and say, ‘Thank you for your service to our country.’ ”

Following the Courthouse ceremony, the annual Veterans Day parade – which featured the Hardin-Simmons Six White Horses − made its way through an enthusiastic crowd up to Harbin Drive and down Washington Street ending near Swan Street.