Mission celebrates Veterans Day with weekend festivities 

Analli Mendez, 8, and her sister Lea Mendez, 3, place flowers on the graves of veterans on Friday at the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission. Photo by Francisco E. Jimenez/The Monitor

MISSION — Veterans Day was transformed into veterans weekend.

John Dalgleish,37, traveled all the way from Fort Polk, Louisiana to help place flowers on the graves of veterans on Friday at the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission. Photo by Francisco E. Jimenez/The Monitor

The weekend was kicked off with a flag ceremony on Friday at the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery. There, dozens of volunteers placed U.S. flags at every gravesite of the 75-acre cemetery.

As the sound of bagpipes echoed through the cemetery, many people, including families, braved the frigid temperatures and light mist of precipitation.

Harlan D. Garrett, Major U.S. Army Ret., of Mission took a moment to observe some of the gravestones with his twin boys, Bradley and Harlan E.

The events continued on Saturday as the city of Mission held its first Veterans Day parade.

The weather was much more promising as people lined Business 83, many holding American flags.

“I think it was a great thing for the city of Mission, something great and something new,” Reynaldo Farias said. “I think it was well worthwhile for the people.”

Farias, who served for 22 years in the Army, could be seen saluting his fellow veterans as they made their way past him during the parade.

“It’s a good thing that they did this on a Saturday so more people could attend instead of during a working day,” Leticia Farias, Reynaldo’s wife, added. “I’m glad I attended. It’s nice that they did it on a Saturday.”

Edna Flores showed her pride by wearing an American-flag themed shirt. She said that while she is not a veteran herself, she appreciates the opportunity to honor veterans such as her husband, her father and her brother.

Veterans Day Parade in Mission. Saturday, Nov. 11, 2019. Frank Jimenez | The Monitor

“It’s amazing. We need to always be thankful for the veterans who have died for us,” Flores said. “I love it because we need to show our veterans that we appreciate them.”

Dave Lunde and his wife Mary Lou of Palmview said that they are happy to see such an event come to fruition in Mission.

“I think it’s great. I’m glad that it was organized and that its going forward as it is,” Lunde said. “It looks good and it’s a very good idea.”

“It’s a very nice parade for being so new,” Mary Lou said. “For the first time out, they did a great job.”

The weekend leading up to Veterans Day concluded with the Green Zone Chili Cook-off, hosted by 5×5 Brewing Co. The event featured teams made of veterans representing each of the five branches of the U.S. military.

“I think we knocked it out of the park,” 5×5 Director of Operations George Rice said Sunday. “For being the first annual, there are going to be a couple of critiques, but the community outpour was amazing. This was the biggest Veteran’s Day parade in the Valley, and I couldn’t be prouder of my city, and I couldn’t be prouder of my community right now.”