A number of events across the Coastal Bend Monday honored military members who made the ultimate sacrifice. The USS Lexington Museum hosted two such events.
“I think that was a record crowd for us today,” the museum’s executive director Steve Banta said. “We had to set up extra seats.”
The extra seats in one of the retired aircraft carrier’s large bays allowed people to take part in a Memorial Day ceremony that concluded with a wreath-laying off the ship’s side and into Corpus Christi Bay. Banta says that it’s important to attend events like this on the holiday but to also enjoy time with family.
“The reason that they made that sacrifice was so that we could celebrate with our families and have these freedoms,” Banta said. “It’s a day to remember, but there’s nothing wrong with having a barbecue and enjoying that time with your family.”
The other Memorial Day event on the Lexington was an American flag retirement ceremony. Boy Scouts from Troop 6 in Brownsville made the trip to Corpus Christi to respectfully burn flags that are too tattered to fly anymore.
“I’m trying to show that I care about this country, and I’m patriotic,” Eagle Scout Diego Arguelles said. “So that’s why I do the flag retirement ceremony as a troop.”
Lots of veterans attended Memorial Day events. Patrick Weitzel joined the Navy in 1962. Now retired, his service included five tours of duty in Vietnam. He says events like today’s show how much better the public treats military members returning from battle than during that controversial war.
“Without us they wouldn’t have [freedoms],” Weitzel said. “They wouldn’t have barbecues or a day off.”
Corpus Christi’s official Memorial Day event took place at Sherrill Park. A parade and ceremony at Seaside Memorial Park are examples of the many other Memorial Day events in the Coastal Bend Monday.