Before hundreds of people lined the sidewalks by Porter High School, before the wonderful, colorful convoy of floats snaked through that crowd, before the much anticipated 18th annual Southmost Veterans Day Parade kicked off, eight veterans were honored by their peers and community members during a luncheon at Christ the King Church.

Before hundreds of people lined the sidewalks by Porter High School, before the wonderful, colorful convoy of floats snaked through that crowd, before the much anticipated 18th annual Southmost Veterans Day Parade kicked off, eight veterans were honored by their peers and community members during a luncheon at Christ the King Church.

Brownsville City Commissioner Ricardo Longoria, who welcomed the group of veterans and families, introduced the guests of honor after Boy Scout Troop 189 presented the Color Guard.

“We wouldn’t be able to stand up for what we believe in if it wasn’t for your service,” Longoria said.

This year, the guests of honor include World War II veteran Allen (Al Sandpiper) Martin; Korean War veteran Guadalupe Garcia; Vietnam War veterans Roberto Q. Rodriquez and Raul Saavedra; Iraq Desert Storm veteran Juan Hurtado III; and veterans of the most recent Iraq war Cynthia Castro, Erica (Kika) Salinas and Idegar Martinez. At the head table with the veterans was Carlos Cascos, former county judge and secretary of state, who is serving as the grand marshal for this year’s parade.

Felix Espinosa, a veteran who served in the Marines and a parade volunteer, thinks it’s fitting that veterans from most of the U.S.’s major wars during the past century were represented.

“It’s a way of thanking all those that served in all the branches,” Espinosa said, adding that he didn’t think veterans of Vietnam, World War I and World War II have been fairly recognized. “This parade acknowledges them as much as it does vets from Iraq and Afghanistan. Everyone is getting equal representation. … This parade makes them feel that they are not forgotten.”

Veterans Day is Saturday, Nov. 11.

A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com