With no official observance, Longview residents deliver their own Veterans Day honors

Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 6:33 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2021 at 11:40 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - November 11th is Veterans Day, when the country honors all of those who have served the country, including here in East Texas.

It began as Armistice Day after World War One, and then by an act of Congress was changed to Veterans Day in the 1950s.

Though there was no official observance in Longview, there were many who honored veterans in their own way.

Many came to The Veterans Memorial at Longview’s Teague Park to remember veterans.

“Without their sacrifice, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have,” said Army veteran Donna McGrath.

Craig Harrington is an Army Iraq war veteran. We know him as Chief Deputy Harrington with the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office.

“On my 17th birthday, my present to myself was enlisting in the Army. In 2005, I was in an IED explosion. Not knowing what I wanted to do, I came here to work at the sheriff’s office and never left. My entire family, every generation, has in some capacity served. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines,” Craig said.

Bob Hunter was denied entry into the Army during Vietnam because of an injury. His boyhood friend Gail Thomsen, did go. He was killed in Vietnam.

“I grew up with him through school, elementary school and high school, and we were drafted but I wasn’t accepted,” Hunter said.

Army veteran Wofford Griffin comes to the park every year to remember his older brother, who was killed in action in Vietnam.

“I was 8 years old when he was killed. If you fail to honor them, then you’re subject to forget those that sacrificed for you. Then the honor is gone. I’m so proud of him,” Griffin said.

For many, serving is the honor.

“Whether you’re a cook, whether you’re an infantryman, a pilot, you are part of that bigger picture. Whether we’re at war, whether we’re at peacetime,” Harrington said.

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