Ceremony honors Central Texas veterans 20 years after their service in Iraq War

Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 10:03 PM CDT
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ELM MOTT, Texas (KWTX) - The American Legion Post 121 welcomed Central Texas veterans who served in the Iraq War to a special service at the post as the war approaches a major milestone.

March 20, 2023 will mark 20 years since the start of the Iraq War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The war ended on Dec. 15, 2011. As many as three million American service members served in the war.

The event at the post included rounds of applause to honor the handful of veterans who served in the Iraq War. Towards the end of the ceremony the sound of a bugle honored those who served and are no longer with us.

”A lot of our veterans here from Central Texas that participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom they just didn’t do it once, they did it their entire careers,” veteran Rolando Hernandez said.

Hernandez delivered the keynote address and discussed his experience serving with the Marine Corps during the Iraq War.

”A lot of the freedoms that we have in the US we take for granted, but I am proud of what we did out there,” he said.

Hernandez brought with him a collection of mementos from the war such as a flag and currency to show those in attendance. These items serve as memories he will never forget.

“There’s times where things pop up on the TV or other places where history pops up, and it’s like, ‘hey I was there,’” Hernandez said.

Also at the event State Representative Doc Anderson presented the post with a Texas flag flown at the state capitol.

”It’s important for the families and the youngsters that are here to understand what these veterans went through,” Rep. Anderson said.

Bill Mohan, who served in the army during the Vietnam War, said there are lessons to be learned from the Iraq War.

”If we don’t pay attention and learn from our mistakes and how we got out of the war we could do it again,” he said.

The post plans to continue to hold a ceremony commemorating the Iraq War every year.