Around the nation, veterans were honored for the bravery and their sacrifices. In East Texas, thousands saluted our local vets. Services were held outside the Gregg County Courthouse with a 21 gun salute and Taps.
The youngest veteran there is now trying to get reacquainted with the freedoms he fought to protect. Tuesday's ceremony was special for army veteran Wesley Blalack. He arrived home from Iraq just last week. He says the experienced veterans he met Tuesday gave him words of wisdom. "Coming back from this they just tell me to take it one day at a time, it gets easier. It's different coming back home. Here I'm not dodging bullets every day. There I am," says Blalack.
Wesley says he's learning what these men, who are familiar with war, already know; coming home is wonderful but it's also painful. Painful to leave your fellow soldiers behind, still fighting for freedom. "I've been in several ambushes. I lost some good friends over there," says Wesley.
One friend Wesley lost was another East Texas native. Stephen Wyatt of Kilgore was killed last month. Wesley's says none of the soldiers who gave their lives did it in vain. "But they did it for a reason. It was a good cause."
He understands that, though they fought in different times and different wars, all veterans share the same pride in serving their country. "There's definitely a common ground. You're still over there with your friends fighting and you still lose your friends. That's not going to change no matter what. You're still fighting for the same cause just fighting a different person."