An estimated 7,000 people turned out for the Memorial Day Ceremony at Houston National Cemetery. Jorge Lopez, director of the cemetery and a veteran of the United States Army, welcomed the crowd to the ceremony and introduced Master of Ceremonies Bill Balleza of KPRC Local 2 TV, a veteran of the Viet Nam War. Listen Download
The colors were presented by TXLSC Korean War Veterans and the Riderless Horse was presented by the Houston Police Mounted Patrol.
Pastor Floyd Perry of Good News Church, a Marine veteran, delivered the invocation.
David McNerney, an Army veteran, and Emma Lou Dyke, a Marine veteran, led in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States.
Stoney Stone, an Air Force veteran and director of NCCGH Inc., presented a tribute to prisoners of war and those missing in action.
Josh Flynn sang "God Bless the USA".
Balleza introduced the featured speaker, W.E.B. "Willie Blackmon, a retired Houston municipal courts judge and former Texas Air National Guard lieutenant colonel.
The benediction was given by Allan Perkins, an Air Force veteran and director of NCCGH Inc. There also was another musical selection by Josh Flynn and a musical selection by Gian Albert Villarreal.
The officers post was by Colonel (Retired) Arch Ethun and Marvin Stearns.
Rifle salutes were by VFW District 4 Ceremonial Detail, Co. A 13th U.S. Regular Infantry and the 15th Texas Infantry (Confederate).
Taps were by Josey Johnson, III, of the Texas State Guard; and Sergeant Mark Collado, U.S. Marine Corps TXANG 147th Fighter Wing.
Early morning rainfall stopped for the ceremony and stayed away until most of the participants were in their cars.
Balleza told GuidryNews.com that he was honored to be master of ceremonies for the event and he is eager to be the Grand Marshal in the City of Galveston Fourth of July Parade.