Central Texas parade celebrates veterans, highlights community

By Erick Rodriguez, Fort Cavazos Public AffairsNovember 16, 2023

Soldiers of the 3d Cavalry Regiment lead the Veterans Day parade Nov. 11, 2023, in downtown Killeen.  The 2023 Killeen Veterans Day parade boasted more than 200 participants and covered more than two miles as it made its way through downtown Killeen. (U.S. Army photo by Erick Rodriguez, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs)
Soldiers of the 3d Cavalry Regiment lead the Veterans Day parade Nov. 11, 2023, in downtown Killeen. The 2023 Killeen Veterans Day parade boasted more than 200 participants and covered more than two miles as it made its way through downtown Killeen. (U.S. Army photo by Erick Rodriguez, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs)
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
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KILLEEN, Texas — Citizens, Soldiers, veterans and families of the Central Texas community lined the streets Nov. 11 in downtown Killeen for the Veterans Day Parade hosted by the City of Killeen and the Central Texas Area Veteran Advisory Committee here.

This year’s parade entries participated with a variety of Soldiers, floats, marching bands from the Killeen Independent School District, and the U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos commander, Col. Lakicia Stokes, as the parade’s grand marshal. The parade serves as a way for the local community to show their appreciation to the veteran and active-duty community alike.

“There’s everything from Soldiers from Fort Cavazos, there’s cars, antique cars, motorcycles, a lot of nice floats. It’s just a great day to come out and see everybody’s kind of creativity come to life and supporting the Soldiers and veterans in our community,” said Pat Christ, co-chair for Central Texas AVAC.

Children waited eagerly on the sidewalk to collect the candy that was being thrown to them from people in the parade.

Shortly before the festivities began, Lori Spencer, AVAC member and spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Day National Committee, presented City of Killeen Mayor Debbie Nash-King a document declaring Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove as regionally recognized sites for Veterans Day celebrations as citizens, local organizations and friends and families gathered in front of Killeen City Hall looked on.

Col. Lakicia Stokes, Fort Cavazos Garrison Commander, steps in the car for her role as the grand marshal of the Killeen Veterans Day parade Nov. 11, 2023.  (U.S. Army photo by Erick Rodriguez, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs)
Col. Lakicia Stokes, Fort Cavazos Garrison Commander, steps in the car for her role as the grand marshal of the Killeen Veterans Day parade Nov. 11, 2023. (U.S. Army photo by Erick Rodriguez, Fort Cavazos Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Mayor Nash-King’s late husband began this back in 2014. And he did a lot of work to ensure that we were recognized as regional site from the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Spencer said. “I’ve been so honored to be able to take that on and so for the 10th year in a row, the cities of Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove area has been designated a Veterans Day regional site. It is my honor to present this declaration to Mayor Nash-King on behalf of the Area Veterans Advisory Committee and the Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Day National Committee.”

Mayor Nash-King offered opening remarks and kicked off the parade with some encouraging words.

“I’d like to thank you all for attending and thank you for recognizing our area as a regional site for Veterans Day celebration,” Nash-King said. “We stand behind our Soldiers, veterans and their families and it is an honor for me to be able to say thank you for all you do, all you’ve done and the sacrifices that were made for this great nation. Thank you.”

Each year the Central Texas AVAC sponsors the event, according to city officials. AVAC is comprised of all the veteran organizations from Nolanville, Harker Heights and Killeen.