Americans honor their veterans

Day marked with parades, ceremonies

Americans honored their military veterans Saturday with a parade in the wintry cold of New York City, where one World War II vet thanked onlookers for remembering, and in a somber ceremony in a Texas community bloodied by a church massacre where almost half of those killed had ties to the U.S. Air Force.

Across the Atlantic, millions of people in Britain and France paused to remember war victims as they marked Armistice Day, which this year was the 99th anniversary of the end of World War I.

In parks, war memorials, football fields and on streets across the United States, politicians and citizens gathered to thank those who have served in the nation’s armed forces.

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In Sutherland Springs, Texas, a Veterans Day ceremony outside a community center was grim as about 100 people gathered under cloudy skies, honoring the more than two dozen people killed a block away at a church last Sunday.

An Air Force official has said 12 of the massacre victims had direct connections to the Air Force, “either members or with family ties.” Sutherland Springs is near Lackland Air Force Base.

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In New York City, which hosts the largest Veterans Day parade in the country, astronaut Buzz Aldrin served as grand marshal, joining Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Air Force’s highest-ranking woman at the parade.

In Washington, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, carried orange buckets with the message “Let’s Do This” to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, joining several dozen volunteers to give it a cleaning.

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Rhode Island used the special occasion of Veterans Day to open a new home for veterans.

The state is one of the first to use a community living concept for veterans’ long-term care, Kasim Yarn, Rhode Island’s first director of veterans affairs, said.

Gov. Gina Raimondo hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the home, located in the town of Bristol on the same site of the previous home, which dated back to 1955, with additions built in later years.