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The Colony 'Salutes American Heroes' during its Veterans Day celebration
Saturday, Nov. 10, will be a busy day for residents of The Colony as the city rolls out its annual Veterans Day celebration, the American Heroes: A Salute to Veterans festival.
David Swain, recreation manager for the city, said the events began in 2007 after an unusually wet summer prompted the city to cancel its Fourth of July celebration.
"That year we had an incredibly rainy spring and summer and our July 4th 'Liberty by the Lake' event was canceled due to Stewart Creek Park being flooded," Swain said. "It was rescheduled to Veterans Day, and everyone commented how nice it was having a fall event when the weather was cooler. The next year, City Council gave us funding to continue the Veterans Day celebration, and thus the American Heroes festival was born."
Swain said the event is relatively young but the city has seen a rise in attendance every year.
"We hope to continue to grow the event and attract folks from all over the Metroplex and the North Texas region," he said. "Having the American Heroes event is a great way to bring attention to Veterans and to pay tribute to those who have served our country in the armed forces."
The event has three key components, the Run by the Lake, a memorial service and a presentation followed by a grand fireworks display.
The day begins with a Run by the Lake, which consists of 1 mile, 5K and 10K courses. Registration is available online now or in person on Friday, Nov. 9, from noon until 6 p.m. at The Colony's parks and recreation office located at 5151 North Colony Blvd. Registration will continue through the morning of the run at 6:30 a.m. at Stewart Creek Park located at 3700 Sparks Road.
At 11:11 a.m., the memorial service will honor veterans at the Five Star Memorial Complex located at 4100 Blair Oaks Drive. Featured speaker will be candidate for State Representative and Air Force veteran, Pat Fallon. Children attending this event will be given a small American flag and the crowd will hear a proclamation from the mayor as well as patriotic music provided by the Frisco Chorale.
The concluding ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. at the stage located on the north side of the Five Star Sports complex across from The Colony High School. Presentations by the officers of the American Legion Family; Legion Post 21, Auxiliary Unit 21 and Sons of the American Legion Squadron 21 will take place at that time. Immediately following the presentation is a fireworks display.
Fred Rogers, 1st vice commander for the American Legion Post 21, said it is the only veteran service organization in the city. He added that he's hoping there will be increased awareness that the city is a patriotic community that honors and respects the service commitment of all veterans and current active duty service personnel.
Previous census figures have shown that the city of The Colony has the largest population per capita of any of the cities in the Metroplex, he said. While exact numbers are not known, it is a conservative estimate that the population of veterans exceeds 1,200.
"The city of The Colony is known as a patriotic city and its Council is committed to helping our veterans and their families and making sure that they are taken care of as well as showing respect and honor for their service," Rogers said. "The city provides a leased space for Post 21 members to meet in and socialize. The city has demonstrated throughout the years that they have a positive attitude in working with Post 21 and all veterans to insure that they are not forgotten."
The morning Run by the Lake is the only event of the day that will generate much-needed income for the nonprofit, Rogers said. The organization consists strictly of volunteers with no salaries, overhead or other expenses allowing donations to go directly to veterans in the community in need of a little help.
"The Run by the Lake is a fund raiser, the morning ceremony is to honor and show respect for all veterans. The night program is to inform the community of the role The American Legion and specifically Post 21 plays within the community," he said. "It is also a time for families to come together and enjoy a night out on the town at little to no cost, from top rated bands to the best fireworks show in the Metroplex. It is a time to remember our freedoms and the people that insure it."
Rogers said funds realized from the Run by the Lake will go back into the community to provide for the legion's mission to help support fellow veterans, troops their families, youth and the community. Donations are welcome, he said, and anyone looking to donate can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register online for the race, visit SaluteRun.com. For information about the entire event, visit www.SaluteAmericanHeroes.com
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