War documentary films open Veterans Day observance
Two nights of movie showings at the San Marcos VFW Hall on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5 will set the tone for San Marcos' 2009 Veterans Day celebration which will culminate with the city's Veterans Day parade on Saturday, Nov. 7.
The documentary A Touch of Home will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, while An Ocean Away will be featured on Thursday, Nov. 3.
The VFW Hall - home to the Maurice Suttles VFW Post 3413 - is located at 1701 Hunter Road.
Weather permitting, the movies will be shown on an outdoor screen. If it rains, the films will be shown indoors.
Admission will be free. Concessions will be available and those attending are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs.
Both films revolve around the war in Vietnam.
A Touch of Home is about the 627 brave young women who served as Red Cross girls or Donut Dollies on the frontlines of the combat zone.
Becoming Donut Dollies required a special skill set. They had to be college educated, audacious, highly social and more courageous than they could have imagined.
Once on the ground, the Red Cross girls didn't wait in safe recreation centers; they took their program to the war. Wearing their regulation powder-blue dresses and armed only with smiles and bags of games, these young women then held the most forward operating position for females in American military history.
An Ocean Away tells the story of the repatriation and return of Donald Matocha to his family in Texas 34 years after his death in Vietnam in 1968 and the subsequent journey of his sisters and fellow marines to Dong Ha Mountain where he died.
This movie has a local connection. Matocha's sister Loretta Eiben is a resident of San Marcos. A San Antonio Express-News reviewer called An Ocean Away a movie full of history and heart...one of the most moving post-war movies ever made.
Entries are still being sought for San Marcos' Veterans Day Parade, which will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7. This year, parade entries will line up on Hopkins Street in front of the Activity Center.
Hopkins Street will be closed to through traffic from 8 a.m. to 12 noon between Charles Austin Drive and Fredericksburg Street.
Activities will get underway at 8:30 a.m. on the courthouse square in downtown San Marcos with free biscuits with gravy and sausage served until the food is gone.
Hosting the breakfast on the square are the San Marcos Main Street program and CafГ© on the Square.
From 9 to 10 a.m., kids ages five and up are invited to bring their bicycles and helmets to the courthouse lawn to participate in the San Marcos Kiwanis Club's Kids Bicycle Brigade.
Kiwanis Club members will help participating youngsters decorate their bikes with free flags and streamers.
Club members will also join the group as parade escorts. Bicycles, with and without training wheels, and scooters are welcome.
Eleven local veterans have been nominated for the parade's grand marshal honors. A non-affiliated committee of volunteers is currently reviewing the list of nominees and an announcement of the veteran selected to serve in the role of grand marshal is expected within the next week.
While the full range of Veterans Day related activities planned for the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District is yet to be identified, fifth grade teachers at Irene Mendez Elementary School, led by Brenda Butler, are working with their students to prepare posters in tribute to veterans.
Texas State University-San Marcos will celebrate Veterans Day on the real day Wednesday, Nov. 11, with a ceremony on the Quad at 10:45 a.m. The guest speaker will be Texas State Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient Brig. Gen. Randall Starbuck, U.S. Air Force retired, who oversaw the preparation and launching of U.S. satellites from Cape Canaveral.
The on-campus ceremony is sponsored each year by the Student Foundation and local non-affiliated veterans are invited to attend. There will be parking reserved for veterans and their families and shuttles to take them to the Quad.