Fred Lobster Military Appreciation Celebration recognizes veterans in Smith County
SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Honoring those who have put on the uniform of military service to the nation was the focus of an annual event held in an open East Texas field today.
It was the 9th annual “Fred Lobster Military Appreciation Celebration” on the McComic Road racetrack grounds in Smith County.
Aging faces as well as young showed the diversity of our veteran population. Among all the activities at Fred Lobster, the primary goal was to recognize all who have served.
“Hopefully, the veterans can come here and share with their brotherhood experiences or just camaraderie,” said Roger Morris, commander of VVA 987 and president of the Veterans Support Commission.
As their branch anthems were played, they assembled in front of the stage to be honored for their service, including three-time bronze star recipient Tallie Regisder.
“It made me feel a lot better. I tell you, it’s really good, and if I was a young man and had to do it over, I would do it again,” 84-year-old Regisder said.
In this year’s event, yellow was worn by flag bearers to signify welcome home honors to Vietnam veterans.
“It’s specifically for Vietnam veterans to be remembered and honored,” Morris said.
Some recall an eerie memory of Friday night football in the late sixties.
“I went to countless football games across the State of Texas. Before the games, they would mention the names of the local people for that era, of the local Vietnam dead. I still remember those days,” said army veteran Steve Brantley.
Gold Star mother Hope Billings was honored as a plaque was unveiled in memory of her son, Sergeant Robert Billings, who was killed in action in 2012.
“It’s beautiful. I love it. That makes me very happy. As long as no soldier is forgotten, that’s what’s important,” she said.
Proceeds from the event support Longview’s VVA Chapter 987 scholarship funds and much-needed programs through the Veterans Support Commission.
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