The annual ceremony, sponsored by the Beeville Garden Club, is at 11 a.m. at the high school’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“The whole purpose of the ceremony is to support veterans and the sacrifice they have made,” says Marine Chief Warrant Officer John Schneider of Beeville.
He is a qualified to talk about it.
His military resume, singe-spaced, fills a page and spans from his joining the Navy as a recruit in 1965 until his retirement — twice.
Schneider spent four years in the Navy, then joined the Marine Corps.
In 40 years of service, he has seen action in Vietnam, Panama, Chile and the Middle East and has served domestically at Waco, Omaha, Hawaii and Corpus Christi.
During his posting in South America, his unit was working on drug interdiction patrols with a Chilean military counterpart. One of the members was killed in action only 25 feet from him.
Schneider retired from the service in 2003 but was brought back out of retirement for service in Iraq for a year; he retired for the second time two years later.
In four decades, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Combat Action Ribbon with a bronze star and the Good Conduct Medal and Navy Unit Commendation Medal.
“Many people are confused about what it means to be a veteran,” he says. “Some people think you’re a veteran only if you were in combat,” says. “But it doesn’t matter how long you were in or where, if you served in the military, you are a veteran.”
Teresa Holland, president of the local VFW Auxiliary, says the schedule for the annual event is being changed this year.
“We are not going to read the names of the deceased vets,” she says. “That is being switched to the Memorial Day ceremony. Local veterans groups have been asking us for years to change it.”
Otherwise, the itinerary will be similar to previous years: presentation of colors, pledge of allegiance, national anthem, invocation, placing of memorial wreaths by various veterans groups, a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps.
Community leader Kay Past will be the master of ceremonies.
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.