Southeast Texas celebrates its veterans

World War II veterans Monroe Scurlock, Charles Henson and Artie Gail Green

Veterans and supporters gathered at a variety of events celebrating service men and women in Southeast Texas on Nov. 11, and U.S. Congressman Brian Babin, 36th District, attended an event in Orange County honoring both veterans and law enforcement officers.

Veterans and friends join Vietnam Veterans Chapter 292 at the Ben J. Rogers Visitors Center each and every Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans Day and its predecessor, Armistice Day, which celebrated the conclusion of World War I, which occurred at 11 a.m. Nov. 11, 1918 – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. 

Three men present at the ceremony this year served in World War II. The venerable veterans sat in seats of honor on the front row at the observance.

Tail gunner Monroe Scurlock served the U.S. Army Air Corps, which later became the U.S. Army Air Force. Sgt. Artie Gail Green was also a member of the Army Air Force.

“Back in the day, the Air Force was in the Army,” said Green. “We all served under Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.”

Also present was Staff Sgt. Charles E. Henson, often seen at events honoring veterans and first responders in Beaumont. He served in the Army, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines continuously from 1938-1949.

In Orange County, two groups held events at the Vidor Lions Club Veterans Park “Fields of Freedom.” U.S. Congressman Brian Babin spoke briefly, thanking both veterans and law enforcement officers for their service, before presenting each local law enforcement entity a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

“I am just very proud, as a veteran myself, as a son of a World War II vet, and as a father of a Navy vet of the Iraq War – three tours in Iraq as a Navy Seal – and I can tell you veterans have a very special place in my heart,” said Babin. “I’m here to honor veterans across this nation, and especially the ones in Orange County. I am also here to honor law enforcement officers who especially put it all on the line for us every day, as well.”

In the evening, the Vidor Lions Club held its annual Veterans Day celebration at the Fields of Freedom. Prior to the commemoration, Turning Point Church “Fishers of Men” served free barbecue to all and handed out much-needed household items to local people lined up near the Vidor Community Center at Gould Park. The group dishes out plates of food at the center every two weeks to make sure hungry mouths are fed. Everyone is welcome. On Veterans Day, they served nachos and pulled pork sandwiches with homemade barbecue sauce.

Following the food service, community members gathered en masse at the Veterans Day observance at the Fields of Freedon, and flags were raised in honor of each branch of the service.