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Residents and visitors alike turned out Monday for the 24th annual Memorial Day Silent March along Central Boulevard to Brownsville Veterans Park, an event that pays tribute to the men and women who lost their lives in service to their country.
The city of Brownsville, American Legion Post 43, VFW and dozens of volunteers coordinated the event, founded by Tiny Barrientes and held with participants walking from the H.E.B at Boca Chica and Central boulevards to the park, which is adjacent to the Brownsville Public Library main branch at 2600 Central Blvd.
Among this year’s participants was Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino, who said Memorial Day is special to him personally and professionally.
“My father was a longtime veteran of both the Army and the Air Force, so I grew up having a lot of respect for the military and for those men and women who served,” Trevino told the Brownsville Herald, saying one of his goals when he served as Brownsville mayor was to develop a veterans park
“We were able to do that and here it is,” he said. “Celebrations like this are to remind each and every one of us each and every day that these men and women gave the ultimate sacrifice. We’re here because of them. Today, in particular, we need to give them their just due,” Trevino said.
American Legion Post 43 Cmdr. Jesus Galvan said the Silent March, and Memorial Day itself serve to remind people of the important sacrifices veterans make.
“Today is a reminder of all the heroes that have gone before us. We just honor them,” he said.
Others at the observance included:
>> Rolando Moody, 75, a Vietnam-era veteran, who said Monday was his birthday and that Memorial Day is significant to him personally.
“We’re honoring the remembrance of our fallen comrades. which brings sadness and joy at the same time to our hearts, so we’re very, very appreciative of their efforts,” he said.
>> Eutimio Ruedas, also a Vietnam-era veteran.
“To me this memorial, especially for us growing up, serving at the end of the Vietnam War, we lost a lot of buddies, 28 from Brownsville. There was a handful that were personal friends of mine,” Ruedas said
He added that the Brownsville chapter of the South Texas Conjunto Association was preparing a conjunto celebration at the VFW from 2-6 p.m. Monday with conjunto pioneer Fruty Villarreal.
>> Reynaldo Guillen Jr., who served in United States Marine Corps during Vietnam and flew Huey helicopters.
“We’re honoring guys who sacrificed all their today’s for all our tomorrows so we can exercise whatever freedoms we want,” he said.
>> Esmeralda Chavana, from Corpus Christi, who was in town visiting her uncle George and aunt Gracie Olivo.
“He’s a Rotarian. He had a lot to do with volunteering on the flags. …They come and set up the flags at 6 o’clock in the morning,” she said.
>> Amable Aquino, a nurse who recently moved to Brownsville from California, and is originally from the Philippines.
She said many of the men in her family were in the military, but she is the first female, so when she got to Brownsville she joined Veterans United In Arms, a local veteran organization.
“Me personally, the reason I joined the service is because I wanted to overcome my fear, and see the extension of my potential,” she said.
Aquino worked for the Cameron County Veterans Service Office helping veterans get their benefits. Currently, she works as a special education co-teacher at Idea Frontier Academy.
To see more, view Brownsville Herald photojournalist Miguel Roberts’ full photo gallery here: