Heavy rains and storm didn’t keep the Prosper Historical Society from honoring area veterans Thursday night at Prosper High School Administration Building. Collin County Judge Keith Self was the keynote speaker.

“We had a bigger crowd this year over last year,” Bill Hays, president of the Prosper Historical Society, said. “It was a full hours.”

Self said he applauds Prosper for hosting a Veterans Day ceremony. “You are demonstrating to your citizens that you will not forget those who went, those who served, those who sacrificed and those we call veterans.”

He explained that a veteran is one who stands in the gap to protect our homeland so others don’t have to.

“Veterans today have an honored place in our nation. But those of us of a certain age remember when veterans were not honored, some fifty years ago during Vietnam, but that period was not normal down through the history of America,” Self said. “Famous names roll off our tongues with ease; Valley Forge, Fort Sumter, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, Normandy, Battle of the Bulge, Guadalcanal, Chosin Reservoir, Tet Offensive, Fallujah. But there are thousands upon thousands of other battles, unnamed and unremarked, in which veterans fought. They fought, or they supported with gunfire or supplies. They transported fighting men and women, or equipment. They provided signal support, or logistical support. As General George Patton once said, “they ate, slept, and fought as a team”. Everyone contributed, regardless of job.”

He said it’s important to remember veterans and by doing so it is inspiring young Americans to service. “I wish there would be no future sacrifice,” Self said. “But we all know there will be. There will always be someone on some future battlefield, as yet unknown and unnamed, who will challenge our very existence. We wish that it were not so, but wishes … don’t … change … the world. Young Americans who go forth to meet challenges change the world, and will change the world for better in the years to come, just as veterans have down through the centuries. And some young Americans may volunteer to go in harm’s way because they know that Prosper has their back, and that Prosper will not forget when they return.”

Self served in the military for 25 years. He is a 1976 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He retired from active duty in 1999 as Lieutenant Colonel. He was later called out of retirement for a 14-month tour in Afghanistan and Qatar to serve with the U.S. Central Command.