Military service shows a one-of-a-kind commitment and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ honors that dignified service. On Feb. 27, hundreds of U.S. military men and women visited the grounds of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to celebrate Armed Forces Appreciation Day, presented by BHP.
Marine veteran and committee volunteer Bill Balleza, introduced the Marine Brass Band from San Diego, California, and the band performed the National Anthem, along with a few other fun songs to start the ceremony.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that Houston has the second largest veteran population in the U.S. The first words out of Major General Mark Stammer of U.S. Army South were to thank the Gold Star Families for their loved ones sacrifice and service.
Stammer then offered to give the new recruits a bit of advice: Know the men and women beside you just as well as you know yourself. About 500 new recruits, all from different branches, were then sworn in by Stammer.
Balleza gave a final farewell advice to the new recruits who are headed to basic training, “There is nothing you can do to make it easier, but a lot you can do to make it harder, do not do that,” he said.
As the ceremony ended, veteran and Army Reserve Ambassador Henry J. Ostermann, Ph.D., described the day, “[the ceremony] Just fabulous, Houston honors and provides wonderful recognition and acknowledges the act of service,” he said. “I come every year with my two world war two buddies, Ted Patrick and Charles Attchley.”