U.S. Army veteran Benton Sager, left, was one of several honored during a Veterans Day celebration at St. James House in Baytown. Also pictured is Baytown Mayor-elect Brandon Capetillo.

To celebrate the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans, a simple “thank you for your service” can mean a lot. 

That was what Mayor-elect Brandon Capetillo’s message was Friday afternoon at Earthman Baytown Funeral Home, where veterans and first responders were recognized for their service and treated to lunch. 

“Today is a day we set aside to go and honor our veterans that provide us the freedoms that we have as Americans to go and govern freely, be elected and choose our representatives,” Capetillo said, who is a veteran of the Air Force in which he served during Operation Desert Storm. “There are countries all around the world and look upon America as far as the freest place on earth, and it really is. Although we have differences and we have lots of challenges at different levels of government, we all have to work together.”    

With about a dozen veterans in attendance, the simple gesture of providing a meal and recognizing the efforts of all veterans was more than enough gratitude for the veterans in attendance. 

“It means a lot to me now,” Richard Carr said, who is an Army veteran that was drafted and deployed to Vietnam. “But that wasn’t always the case because I was drafted and I wondered why I was going and (others) weren’t. And when we came back from the Vietnam War, people were so down on the war that we didn’t exactly hide (our service), but we didn’t exactly publicize it either.”

“Although it wasn’t my choice, it was my duty,” he added.   

 Currently, the U.S. has 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 450,00 of the stationed overseas. 

And according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, in 2016 there were around 20.4 million U.S. veterans.   

So as we observe Veterans Day, be thankful for the sacrifices these men and women made for our freedoms, and like Capetillo suggested, thank them for their service. 

Baytonians can also take part in city’s Veterans Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. today out at Bicentennial Park, 1001 Market Street, where City Councilman Charles Johnson will welcome guests and past commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 912 will introduce speakers. 

Rosendo Lopez, president of VVA Chapter 922, will read the poem, “Just a Common Soldier” by A. Lawrence Vaincourt. 

Then, Gideon Jones, a U.S. Army Air Corp, WWII veteran and POW will say a few words. At the age of 19, Jones was a crewman on a B-24 bomber. During a bombing mission that required his crew to bail out, he was eventually captured and sent to Stalag Luft III. 

For more information about the ceremony, visit

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