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Veterans Day Ceremony

Monday, November 11, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

VeteransMore than 200 people gathered in the student quad at Texas State Technical College on Monday and nearly 100 more veterans were on hand as Ricardo Sanchez, Lieutenant General U.S. Army (ret.) spoke emphatically about what it means to be a veteran and serving the country.

"Every generation is called upon to defend their country and this generation is no different," Sanchez said. "And I foresee that the next two or three generations will be called upon too."

Sanchez served as Commander of Coalition Ground Forces in Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004. Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was captured during his tenure and sons, Uday and Qusay were killed.

At the ceremony, his brother Robert served as emcee and introduced the general. Robert Sanchez serves as Surgical Technology Program Chairman.

TSTC has nearly 200 students and employees that are listed as veterans. The ceremony was held in their honor and open to the community.

TSTC Inventory Supervisor Valentin Osejo served three tours of duty in the Middle East. He's a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Army and has been employed with TSTC for the same period of time.

"It was a very special ceremony for all of us," Osejo said. "It was nice to see our veterans get recognized."

Executive Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services Teri Zamora expressed her gratitude to the veterans in attendance.

"We care for our veterans," Zamora said. "We appreciate your years of service and we recognized that today."

World War II veteran Ponciano Villarreal received special recognition at the ceremony. The Los Fresnos native landed on Normandy about one month after D-Day on July 18, 1944. His duties included delivering supplies to soldiers in battle.

Villarreal called Monday's ceremony was "touching."

"It was beautiful," Villarreal said.

The Harlingen South Air Force Junior ROTC presented the colors and conducted an American Flag-Folding Ceremony. The American Legion 15 th District Drill Team conducted a MIA ceremony and vocalist Kelly Marcades sang the National Anthem and "God Bless the U.S.A."

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