Harlingen High School holds annual Veterans Day ceremony

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HARLINGEN — Senobio Martinez appreciated the gratitude extended to him Friday for his service in the Army many years ago.

“I feel really good, honored to be here,” said Martinez, 67, one of several veterans recognized Friday at the Harlingen High School JROTC Veterans Day service.

Martinez and his fellow veterans had just finished a lunch of sandwiches and chips from Reyna’s Bar-B-Q in the library of Harlingen High School. Thereafter they headed to the gym where an elaborate ensemble of performances from multiple players — Harlingen High School Choir, the band, ROTC, etc. — entertained and honored veterans for their service.

Robert Larios, associate band director at Harlingen High School, said his students were more than ready to perform such tunes as “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

“We’ve performed these numbers before, we’ve done these presentations before,” he said.

All these pieces came together in remarkably little time. Organizations didn’t get the word until Monday that there would even be a ceremony this week.

“We only had one day,” said Julia Bender, theater director.

“We got together with Sgt. Gonzales and we collaborated and put it together,” she said.

Gonzales is retired Master Sergeant Juan Gonzales, senior Army instructor at HHS and he’d given Bender’s students a script to perform for the ceremony.

“It feels wonderful to showcase the talent that we have here at Harlingen High School with the ROTC, the choir, the band, the orchestra, and the speech and drama students,” Gonzales said. “They love to do it. They want to give a treat to the veterans and what they sacrificed and their service.”

Floodlights cast an eerie glow on the students as they presented their colors. Cadets read speeches and stood at attention with such precision they appeared to have been practicing for months.

Azeneth Corrales, a sophomore, performed “Amazing Grace,” and she and another actor presented a skit.

Principal Efrain Amaya was impressed.

“It’s only a small token of appreciation for everything the veterans are doing,” he said. “We value and honor our veterans.”