KILLEEN, Texas – The City of Killeen took part in the Veterans Day celebrations Thursday morning with their annual Veterans Day Parade in the downtown area.

Hundreds filled West Avenue D, waving flags towards parade participants. The parade has been put together by the Central Texas Veterans Activity Committee since 2004, but the parade began in the 80’s.

Mayor Pro Term Debbie Nash-king as well as U.S. Representative Brad Buckley spoke before the event to thank those who served in our nations military.

“Across this state, across this country and across the world, people know about Killeen and they know the strong veteran community, but more than that, they know how this community takes care of veterans,” said Rep. Buckley, Representative for District 54.

Organizers say there’s no military town quite like Killeen.

“I love Killeen because Killeen is very friendly to the military. First of all, you can see that it’s a military town because most of them have retired here. But its a wonderful place where you can go and talk to the people. You can go to McDonalds and start a conversation, you can go to Walmart and do the same, you can’t do that anywhere else and it makes you feel at home, it feels like you are wanted and you feel secure,” said Guadalupe Lopez, Co-Chair for the Veterans Day Parade.

The parade included members of the R.O.T.C. program from Killeen ISD, local veteran organizations as well as police and fire department.

“We wouldn’t be standing here without our service members and we wouldn’t be able to speak about what we want to say if it weren’t for our service members, so we give thanks every day and we just have to honor them,” said Angelica Dellin, parade attendee.

Parade attendee Martina Wright walked in the parade when she was in her High School’s R.O.T.C. program, now she gets to watch from the sidelines.

“Respecting the military, period. You know, freedom isn’t free and especially with everything going on overseas, I’m just happy that a lot of people are coming back here on mainland and I definitely want them to respect the military and hopefully some of them go and serve,” said Wright.

Organizers skipped last years parade because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but were excited to be able to host it again this year.

“I really appreciate the sacrifice all of you have made,” said Alexander Cowell, Killeen High School R.O.T.C.