Everyone stood in silence while the American Legion Post 95 Honor Guard did a special tribute with Posting of the Colors. The Huntsville Men’s choir sang patriotic melodies and veterans stood up high saluting and singing to their branch anthems.
The H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum hosted their 20th annual Veteran’s Banquet honoring those who served in the United States military on Thursday, Nov. 11.
“What every veteran embodies: It’s service, it’s devotion, it’s courage, it’s persistence, what I describe as the heart and character of every veteran,” Rep. Kevin Brady said in his speech. “What I describe as the heart and character of every veteran.”
Rep. Brady had earlier that morning been in Conroe, Texas to honor the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, according to the Houston Chronicle. However, the H.E.A.R.T.S. Museum holds a special place in the hearts of veterans in the congressman’s district.
“It’s very accessible and what I describe as the heart and character of every veteran,” former marine and owner of Honor Cafe Chris Sadler said. “You know how most museums have put things behind glass, this museum is very close and able to touch and feel. I think that’s important when trying to educate someone or give information they should have those types of abilities.”
The H.E.A.R.T.S. Museum started in a window of the Bluebonnet Square Antique Mall shop when Charlotte Oleinik placed her first Veterans Day exhibit. And has evolved with determination from a small exhibit in West Hill Mall to the H.E.A.R.T.S. Veterans Museum, according to H.E.A.R.T.S. Museum website.
“I have had so many people tell me from the beginning, you can’t do that, you will never get that museum,” Oleinik said. “I said you just wait and see.”
The museum relies on volunteers for its day-to-day operations, one of whom became the director of the learning center.
“I’m surrounded by heroes every day,” executive director Tara Burnett said. “My son is serving our country but the way I give back to my community is helping other veterans and men that have served just like him.”
A former marine who served 21 years, Brain Hampton voiced how veterans are treated better than the days of the Vietnam war.
“Now they’re honored,” Hampton said. “And there and people actually come up and say thank you for serving; they didn’t used to do this.”