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City of Lubbock honors those who served at 6th Annual West Texas Salute to Veterans

Published: Apr. 30, 2022 at 5:03 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The 6th Annual West Texas Salute to Veterans was held on Saturday at the Silent Wings Museum.

This was a way for the city to celebrate all that veterans sacrifice for us and make them aware of resources they have available to them.

Rodney Gonzales is director of the medical center at the Amarillo Veteran’s Affairs Health Care System. Gonzales says only a small percentage of Americans enlist.

“Less than 10% of our nation even serve in some capacity,” Gonzales said. “When you talk about military service, it gets down to the single digit of the number that have served.”

There are between 20,000 and 25,000 veterans in the Lubbock community.

The City of Lubbock hosted their 6th Annual West Texas Salute to Veterans at Silent Wings...
The City of Lubbock hosted their 6th Annual West Texas Salute to Veterans at Silent Wings Museum on Saturday.(Peyton Toups, KCBD)

Benny Guerrero, chairman of the Veterans Advisory Committee, says he feels like one of his duties is to make sure everyone remembers who fought for our country.

“Every now and then, we do feel that some of the veteran population has been forgotten and it’s our responsibility as the Veterans Advisory Committee, out of the City Council, for us to not allow the city to forget,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero also helps out for other reasons. He has been deployed 12 times and has made it home while some haven’t. He said that brings on guilt that can only be addressed by volunteering.

Coming back from deployment can be very rough for veterans. They may face physical and mental health struggles. Gonzales says post-traumatic stress is very serious.

“You might see that your battle buddy, who you have lived with for the last several months, suffers severe injuries or may even be killed,” Gonzales said. “Well that, that can take a lot on you.”

The Silent Wings Museum honors World War II veterans regularly, but that is not the only reason it was chosen as the venue.

“This is where all our Vietnam veterans deployed from when they left Lubbock for Vietnam,” Gonzales said.

He says they walked in the front doors, through the museum, and then loaded on a plane and said goodbye to their families for a year and a half.

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