Remembering the fallen: San Marcos Memorial Day ceremony honors local veterans

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Remembering the fallen: San Marcos Memorial Day ceremony honors local veterans

Local Hays County Veterans pose at the Hays County Memorial during the ceremony May 27. Photo by Jacqueline Ziebis

Local Hays County Veterans pose at the Hays County Memorial during the ceremony May 27.

Photo by Jacqueline Ziebis

Local Hays County Veterans pose at the Hays County Memorial during the ceremony May 27.

Photo by Jacqueline Ziebis

Local Hays County Veterans pose at the Hays County Memorial during the ceremony May 27.

Photo by Jacqueline Ziebis

Jacqueline Ziebis, News Reporter

The City of San Marcos hosted a ceremony to honor its local veterans at the Hays County Veterans Memorial Monday morning.

The ceremony started with a silent prayer, the National Anthem and the pledge of allegiance. After which, retired Colonel Charles Walts, who served in the U.S Army, was the guest speaker and spoke about the historical significance and the beginning of the federal holiday.

“Originally, it was called Decoration Day, a day for decorating the graves of soldiers with flowers in remembrance of their sacrifice in the Civil War,” Walts said. “By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate traditions of honoring those who gave their lives in combat had merged and Memorial Day was extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.”

During Walts’ speech, he told the story of Major Patrick Brady, commander of the 54th Medical Detachment, and how he earned the Medal of Honor near the village of Chu Lai, Vietnam. Major Brady flew over 2,000 combat missions and evacuated more than 5,000 wounded. He served for 34 years and retired as Major General.

Charles Walts served in the United States Army for 27 years and retired in 1988. He referred to himself as a “bonafide draft dodger” because before he was set to be drafted in 1961, he decided to volunteer. He was set to become a missile man but his ability to type 70 words a minute and college degree landed him in a top-secret security clearance position at Fort MacArthur in Los Angeles, California.

Later on, Walts applied for a direct commission officer position and became a second lieutenant. He was assigned to special forces for airborne traffic at the 18th airborne core and 82nd airborne commission to Vietnam.

Following his tours in Vietnam, he graduated from Texas Tech, with a masters in Automatic Data Processing and was assigned to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He ended his career in Hawaii as the director of automated systems.

Among those attending the ceremony was Rob Roark from KZSM radio. Roark spoke on the importance of tradition within the San Marcos community and his effort to get more people in the community involved, including incoming students.

Mayor of San Marcos Jane Hughson ended the ceremony by thanking everyone for their attendance.

“I’d like to thank the city of San Marcos for coming out today. Wishing you a good day and God bless the USA,” Hughson said.

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