A warm salute

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Neither gray skies or occasional sprinkles could dampen the spirit of area residents who gathered Saturday morning to honor veterans.

Cedar Park hosted its annual Veterans Day celebration with a parade ceremony and the unveiling of two new statues along the walk to the memorial at Veterans Park.

“As has become really one of our greatest traditions here in Cedar Park, as we approach the eleventh day of the eleventh month, when we as Americans traditionally pause to remember the importance of our veterans and the battles they have fought, we do so here by gathering in Veterans Park,” said Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell. “As most of you know, this monument was designed, funded and built by a committee of citizens and it stands, not only as a place of gratitude to our veterans, but as a testament to the Cedar Park community’s eternal respect and dedication to them.”

Having a special opportunity to reinforce the community’s support for veterans is important for Powell.

“Though we strive to do this every day, let us today utilize this opportunity, this gathering together as a community, to say thank you,” he said. “Thank you for protecting the freedoms we often casually enjoy. Thank you for safety in our county, our city and our homes and thank you veterans for providing it with bravery and devotion.”

The presence of a number of older veterans was contrasted with the participation of a large contingent of potential future veterans as members of the Vista Ridge High School Navy JROTC program lined the memorial, raised the flags and sang the national

anthem.

During the ceremony, Powell recognized Troy Cole and Donald Schliesser, who were recently awarded Congressional Veterans Commendations by U.S. Rep. John Carter.

“This award recognizes not only their achievements during military service, but also service to their community afterward,” he said. “These are both men I personally know, respect

and love.”

Guest speaker, State Representative Tony Dale, shared thoughts gathered from a variety of members in the community on what Veteran’s Day meant to them personally as well as a poem he wrote for the occasion.

“We gather in a place of majesty, honor and beauty,” he said. “It is a place I love so much to celebrate the veterans of our nation’s armed services. As your state representative I strive to give members of this community

a voice.”

Comments he shared from the community focused on individual memories, personal sacrifice, family sacrifice and a chance to reflect and be thankful.

At the end of the remarks, Powell announced the unveiling of the first two statues. Both are life-sized bronzes, one a World War I Doughboy, and the second a World War II Naval Commander.

“I’m very pleased to announce that the two pieces on display along the entryway today are the first of an ongoing project to install sculptures along the pathway to honor military men and women of the past, present and future,” he said.

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