Earlier this week, officials with the City of Houston announced its annual Veterans Day Parade would not take place like normal.
Instead, the city hosted a 5K run honoring heroes from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City; originally scheduled for September 11 of this year, Hurricane Harvey forced the event to be postponed due to recovery efforts.
The city reportedly promoted the event as a “Veterans Day Celebration & 9/11 Heroes Run,” honoring and celebrating “the brave men, women, and families who pay the ultimate sacrifice for liberty and freedom,” according to the city’s website.
The run began at 8:00 a.m., with the Veterans Day Commemoration at City Hall at 10:00 a.m. The day also featured a job and resource fair for veterans seeking employment.
City officials claim logistical issues made holding the run and the parade on the same day infeasible.
“It just became difficult to do a 5K run on the same streets where a parade would be held just a couple hours later,” Carl Salazar, Houston’s director of veteran affairs, said in an interview with a local TV station.
Despite the logistical conflicts, some veterans said they did not appreciate the change of plans:
“It’s like (the city is) saying, ‘We want to honor you guys, but we’re not going to give you everything you’re due,'” Air Force veteran Mike Poellnitz said in an interview. “It (the parade) made you feel like what you were doing meant something. That it wasn’t just something that drove me personally, but other people felt was worthwhile.”
City officials said the parade is still on the schedule for next year, and they are considering forming a parade committee to oversee activities.
“That (the committee) may result in some changes in the route or what kind of floats we include,” Salazar said.
Next year’s event will also mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice formally ending World War I.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, 845,000 – 1.7 million veterans are estimated to be living in Texas.
Nov. 11 marks their official day of remembrance nationwide.