By Staff Sgt. Keith Anderson
Army North PAO

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Military and civilian community members spent the day April 22 celebrating Fiesta at Fort Sam Houston with carnival rides, live bands and performances, booths and unit displays, a military ceremony honoring Fiesta, an evening dinner and entertainment in the grounds of Army North's historic Quadrangle and a fireworks show.

Lt. Gen. William Caldwell IV, commanding general, U.S. Army North, and senior commander, Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis, welcomed guests to the 2012 Fort Sam Houston Fiesta and Fireworks during the military review ceremony at MacArthur Parade Field.

"2012 marks Fiesta's 121st anniversary -- 11 days with over 100 official events," said Caldwell. "Fiesta has grown into a celebration of San Antonio's rich and diverse culture. Fort Sam Houston and the United States Army are proud to be part of this tradition."

Events like Fiesta don't happen without the support and sacrifices of military service members, said Evangelina Flores, Fiesta Commission president, as she spoke to those gathered during the ceremony.

"These things don't happen without the freedoms we have today -- freedoms that have been earned by the sacrifices made by service members and their families," Flores said. "The military community in San Antonio has supported Fiesta for more than 100 years. The military community, along with the 75,000 volunteers and more than 100 participating organizations, has made Fiesta the success it is today."

For the service members who were chosen to serve as military ambassadors throughout Fiesta events, the role is a special one.

"It's definitely an honor to be the Marine Corps ambassador to the San Antonio community during Fiesta San Antonio," said Marine Corps Sgt. William Alvarez, a parachute rigger with the 4th Recon Battalion, Fort Sam Houston. "Also, the camaraderie among the ambassadors has been phenomenal."

Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Hite, a military training instructor with the 322nd Training Squadron, Lackland Air Force Base, said his role as ambassador, and the rich history and tradition of Fiesta, has made his time extraordinary.

"It's very humbling to be nominated to represent the Air Force to San Antonio -- Military City, U.S.A.," said Hite. "Viva Fiesta!"

During the day's events, many people took time to check out Army North's Sentinel and Emergency Response vehicles, and to walk through the unit's new 53-foot command information mobile exhibition trailer, complete with high-tech audio video stations playing videos of Army North in action.

Randy Mitchell from Army North's public affairs office, along with his fellow Army North representatives, met with community members and spoke with them about the unit's role and missions of homeland defense, civil support and theater security cooperation to the thousands of visitors that streamed through.

"It has been a great event," Mitchell said. "Many people said they felt better knowing that someone is doing these missions."

Pvt. Jonathan Easterling, an Army trainee at Fort Sam Houston who is undergoing training to become a combat medic, said he was interested to hear about the organization and learn of its capabilities.

"It's always good to know what's going on -- how everything fits," he said.

During the Commander's reception in the Quadrangle, guests were treated to a catered meal and performances from the 323rd Army Band "Fort Sam's Own" and the U.S. Army Soldier Show. Military leaders and Fiesta royalty exchanged warm remarks and a few coveted Fiesta medals.