Dear Editor:

I would like to thank to the coalition members, sponsors, volunteers, participants, businesses, organizations, and newspapers for their time, money, and dedication for the Hollister Veterans Day Parade – honoring veterans of San Benito County 2002.

This successful and patriotic event was the result of a collaborative effort among local veterans groups, City of Hollister, local organizations and this community.

Military and veterans’ groups from Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Fresno counties also contributed to this special day.

We will always remember our veterans proudly saluting the flag or the children waving their flags as the many troops, vehicles and veterans marched along San Benito Street.

“Freedom is NOT Free” and continued support from this country and our community are a good way to say “thank you” to the men and women who risk their lives defending our freedom.

Veterans and active-duty military personnel have and continue to follow orders while defending the freedom that we enjoy daily. Look around you, we are your neighbors, brothers, sisters, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandfathers, co-workers, and friends. To us, honor, duty and country are not just empty words. It is how we live our lives, what inspires us to make a difference in our communities, and what enables us to be role models for our families.

Today, there are more than 25 million veterans nationwide, including more than 3,000 in San Benito County. Many of us participated in the parade and in the ceremonies at the Veterans Memorial Building.

As a proud veteran, I feel it is my duty to be an advocate for veterans affairs and to re-emphasize the important role of our brave men and women from the U.S. Armed Forces.

Thanks everyone for making this past Veterans Day a memorable one. Special recognition must go to the American Legion, San Benito Post 69; the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Hollister Post 9242, and the Hollister City Clerk’s Office for assisting me in making the parade a reality for this community. We hope you will join us again next year and in the years to follow.

Richard Herrera Jr.

Founder and parade coordinator for the annual Hollister Veterans Day Parade,

U.S. Navy veteran, Persian Gulf War

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