SAN ANTONIO – Saturday is Veterans Day, and to honor those who serve KSAT 12 sat down with the man in charge of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Texas.
Edward C. Torres describes himself as a home town kid and has been a part of the VFW at Post 4815 on the South Side since 1978. He says for him, every day is Veterans Day.
After taking the post in July, Torres is about four months into a one-year term as State Commander. He says he is working hard to protect the rights of vets in the Lone Star State.
Standing in the hall of the VFW building, "thanking the Lord for coming back" is what Torres says goes through his mind when looking at a picture of himself as an 18-year-old standing with an M60 at the landing zone "English."
Torres was in the elite 173rd Airborne Brigade fighting in the jungles of Vietnam.
"We didn't have a choice of being scared," Torres said. "You heard a 105 bomb go off, as a booby trap, and [it] left one of my brothers with nothing but skin on the trees."
But as much as his medals represent the sacrifice of all, Torres says the accolades after coming home are just as meaningful.
"To me, Veterans Day is every day," Torres said.
A VFW member since 1978, Torres now serves as the State Commander for the Texas VFW.
Torres oversees 70,000 members and has traveled to Washington DC to meet with representatives while advocating state congress to keep education benefits for veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Torres said he wants to make sure soldiers know they are not alone.
"Vietnam veterans, we gotta, just got, they got smothered by hate," Torres said. "We need each other as brothers, and that's, that's, that's, what I enjoy most, to be able to talk and reach out to this younger generations to welcome them home. I'm so proud of them 'cause they're really taking advantage of what was promised to them."
On Saturday, Torres and the rest of his post have a parade starting at noon, with roughly 100 entries. He will serve as honorary grand marshal.
Torres said for Veterans Day, people should think of what it could be like if veterans never served.
"It's essential, it's very essential, cause just, we have this freedom to have this interview now, but can you imagine," Torres said.