ANDREWS, TX (KWES) - Although our veterans and service men and women should be honored every day, November 11 is the day where the entire country goes all out for celebrations. Andrews, Texas held a celebration Friday, and behind it all, the West Texas Chapter Halo for Freedom Warrior Foundation.
The festivities began at the Andrews High School football stadium. The crowd anxiously awaited the arrival of Dana Bowman, a retired, former member of the U.S. Army's elite parachute team, The Golden Knights, who jumped 4,000 feet into the football stadium.
He shared a message of courage, strength, and patriotism to the student body, and community. Bowman lost both of his legs in an air collision back in 1994 while serving on The Golden Knights. He now travels the world as a motivational speaker.
"My motto, it's not the disability, it's the ability," said Bowman. "If I can show them that I can water ski, snow ski, scuba dive, fly airplanes, helicopters, and continue out in the community, can you imagine what kind of hope we're bringing to our kids today?"
Bowman is also the founder of Halo for Freedom Warrior Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides support for wounded warriors as they go through rehabilitation and the healing process.
"We're not the Wounded Warrior Project," Bowman said. "It's about giving back. It's a different foundation. Something that maybe you might have someone that needs something."
Later in the day, a service was held at the Chamber of Commerce in Andrews. Members of the Halo for Freedom Warrior Foundation spoke, along with John Tiegen, a former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant and Infantry Squad Leader.
"Without the veterans of our past, we wouldn't be here," Tiegen said.
When Islamic militants attacked the American Diplomatic Compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, Tiegen was among those to defend the consulate and held off the radical Islamic terrorists until CIA employees could be evacuated.
Tiegen is also the co-author of the book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi, that would later be turned in to the 2015 movie, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. He stressed that although our veteran's no longer are on active duty, every day they still have a job.
"Just like even after Benghazi, we all went back to work," Tiegen said. "We didn't back down and pout because of what happened that night. We went back and kept fighting."
A theme common among all speakers at the event, two words go a long way: "Thank you."