(Seguin) -- Tuesday's chilling weather didn't hinder folks from coming out and saluting America's Heroes. Veterans organizations wrapped up what they say was a "successful mission" of hosting their first official downtown Veterans Day Parade. The parade, which included approximately 10 entries, was followed by the annual ceremony in Central Park. Up until now, the ceremony had been held in Veterans Park on Jefferson Avenue.
Serving as this year's guest speaker was Col. Matthew Isler, the 12th Flying Training Wing commander from Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.
Isler says with each war comes a unique grouping of veterans. He says with each generation, Americans should take the time to pay tribute to the specific challenges, sacrifices and successes of each conflict.
He says America today should be thankful that it still holds on to a few members of that oldest generation of heroes.
"It's about celebrating America's Veterans. It's about the ones that are serving right now and the ones that have served and that oldest generation that's still with us today is the real treasure -- the greatest generation that served in World War II. I would just say that we should take some time and visit with especially that generation because those veterans and their stories, they aren't with us much long and I challenge each of us to find one of those and hear their stories and the work that they've done to protect our freedom from so long ago," said Isler.
He says America today also salutes those veterans involved in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
"The next generation after that is the Korean generation and the Vietnam generation and unlike today where citizens are really supportive of the military, they grew up in a generation where the country -- they didn't get to experience that level of support and with that generation, I make a conscious effort that we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service -- that and a lot of the times, they didn't serve a grateful nation, but they did support it within the Constitution just as much as every other generation. I'm very grateful to them for that selfless service," said Isler.
Isler says even today's younger generation of veterans are unique to the roll of men and women who have protected our freedoms.
"Then in today's generation of airmen and soldiers, sailors and marines that have been serving since Desert Storm, we have been in conflicts since 1991. It's a long war and we're continuing to fight that with operations in Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan. We've never experienced this sustained level of combat like that. They're going to be a unique set of veterans that we need to make sure that we continue to care for the with same level of gracious support that our country is providing right now," said Isler.
Aside of veterans and active military personnel, Isler says it is the family members of these individuals who should always be honored and recognized. Isler says often times, they are the unsung heroes -- heroes who provide the strength for these men and women back home.
"The service members signed up but then, it's their job and they volunteer to go, but the family members aren't getting the hazardous duty pay and they didn't get a vote in that deployment. Instead, they serve and they bear the scars of the deployments at the end of their service. So I think the greatest thing that we can do is say thank you and appreciate their service and then to continue to care for them during times of deployment and with the families of our fallen and our disabled veterans as they continue to deal with the price of their service," said Isler.
Seguin's Veterans Day events were hosted by the Guadalupe County Joint Veterans Organizations in Seguin. They include the Manuel Castilla Chapter of the American GI Forum, the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 61, the American Legion Post #245, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #8456, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #9213 plus their respective auxiliary units.