Far West Texas celebrates its veterans

FAR WEST TEXAS — Today is Veterans Day, a holiday where the United States recognizes and celebrates its military veterans. Across the Big Bend, ceremonies will honor those who have served in the armed forces, and in the city of Marfa, the city-owned USO Building will soon reopen as a regular gathering space for veterans.

This morning, all veterans are invited to attend a special Veterans Day program hosted by Marfa ISD. At 10 a.m., the program will begin, welcoming a guest speaker in the Marfa Shorthorn Gym. Afterward, a lunch will be provided by Sheriff Danny Dominguez. The longstanding event was shuttered last year, due to COVID-19 concerns, but this year, the school will welcome back attendees for the ceremony and meal.

Sheriff Dominguez’s barbecue meal will also make its way to Presidio, where his deputies and Presidio Independent School District police officers will serve it at a Veterans Appreciation Luncheon on Thursday in the Presidio Elementary School Gym from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. All veterans are invited to the meal and will be treated to entertainment courtesy of the Presidio Elementary School students and Presidio High School Band.

Later in the afternoon, veterans will be honored with a service at the Fort Davis National Historic Site. The Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce and the fort will welcome guests at 4 p.m., for a presentation of the colors and a keynote speaker address. The event is open to veterans, their families and the general public, and admission to the fort is free for all event attendees.

The ceremony will be held outdoors on the porch of the historic barracks with plenty of room to spread out. Chairs will be provided or guests can bring their own. In the event of very cold or bad weather, the ceremony will be canceled. The Fort Davis National Historic Site is in north Fort Davis at 101 Lt. Flipper Drive #1379. Visit https://www.nps.gov/foda to contact the Fort Davis National Historic Site for further information.

Finally, the City of Marfa announced that it will be welcoming veterans back to the United Services Organization (USO) Building by reviving an old tradition. Along with its usual visitor center operating in the front entry, the building will return to its use as a gathering space for vets.

Starting Thursday, November 18, the hall will be open as a meeting place where veterans can sit and socialize over coffee and snacks. “For now, we are beginning with a place for vets to come together, reminisce and continue the historic purpose of the USO Hall,” said Marfa Tourism Director Abby Boyd. The hall will open every Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon, but as interest grows, the city may add more hours or special programs.