La Feria News

La Feria Honors Valley Veterans

City Commissioner Eric Hoff speaks to veterans at dedication. Photos: Bill Keltner/LFN

Two Ceremonies on Memorial Day

Bill Keltner

The annual Veterans’ Memorial Day observance sponsored by the La Feria American Legion Post #439 drew a larger crowd this year because two special ceremonies were conducted by the City of La Feria and members of the American Legion. The La Feria Legionaires were joined in the ceremonies by American Legion Post #205 and VFW Post #2410, both of Harlingen.

A large crowd joined City officials, members of the American Legion and veterans for this official unveiling and dedication ceremony of the Veterans Memorial Monument. The program began at 10:30 a.m. with an invocation by Bishop Ronald Ortiz, Pastor of the La Feria Christian Center.

Eduard C. Counelis, representing the Veterans Monument Committee, welcomed those present for the ceremony, and reviewed the History of the meaning of Memorial Day. He said the monument is dedicated to all members who have served in American armed forces in all her wars.

Counelis is the local Commander of La Societe des 40 hommes et 8 Cheveau Voiture 231. He explained that this society of veterans has been active in La Feria since 1922.

Bugler Ignacio Garcia plays TAPS at Memorial Monument dedication.

“The veterans’ organization was formed by American veterans of the First World War,” he said, adding, “the words in French relate to the first impression that Doughboys had after leaving their ships. The men saw a string of small French rail cars lined up to take them directly to the front—some cars were marked to take 40 men, others marked for 8 horses—the soldiers never forgot it.”

He explained that the city of La Feria donated the land, and the monument committee has given a $15,000 check to the city from donations by local citizens and veterans to make possible the building of the impressive monument to La Feria’s soldiers and sailors. Bugler Ignacio Garcia brought the ceremony to a close with his playing of TAPS, continuing a 30- year tradition by this American Legion member.

State representative Oscar Longoria sent the city of La Feria a Texas state flag, which had flown over the state capitol in Austin, along with a certificate of authenticity. It was accepted by Edward Counelis and Judge Arturo Salas.

Crowd gathers for Monument dedication.

Tabitha Outlaw, La Feria Administrative Assistant and Event Coordinator, invited those present to support the Veterans Memorial Monument by purchasing a Paver to honor a veteran of their choice. “The cost per paver is $50.00. The message may include any combination of the following within the allotted space: name rank, branch, years served, conflict, “in honor of”, “in memory of.” Orders are accepted in person or via mail at La Feria Cty Hall. ATTN: PAVERS. 115 E. Commercial Avenue, La Feria, Texas 78559.

The crowd next moved to the La Feria American Legion hall for the second ceremony, where guests listened to remarks by honored guests: City Commissioner Eric Hoff and Guz Ruiz, Cameron County Commissioner, and other local dignitaries. The Memorial Day program ended with a flag raising ceremony, the reciting of the famous poem “Where poppies grow in Flanders Field” and a final playing of TAPS, thus concluding this Memorial Day double-ceremony honoring veterans until next year.

Commander Counelis and Judge Arturo Salas accept State flag and Certificate sent from State Representative Oscar Longoria.

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