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Abilene Veterans Day Parade honors Cisco man

By Kristen Pope, Reporter, kpope@ktxs.com
Published On: Nov 11 2012 03:40:59 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 12 2012 07:33:09 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Hundreds gathered for the Veterans Day Parade in Downtown Abilene on Saturday. Flags flew and soldiers were saluting, showing their American pride.

Families lined the streets to participate in the Veteran's Day Parade. All with great pride to be American.

Airman Raymundo Gutierrez said why he felt it's his duty to go to the front lines.

"Security and safety," Gutierrez said. "That's most definitely my responsibility is my family."

This Veterans Day was special for one Cisco man who was honored with a day in his name.

"I was proud of it. But it's not me. It's the system that's really important. I'm just one individual," said John Riley Smith, retired first lieutenant and pilot.

Abilene Mayor Norm Archibald declared Nov. 10 "John Smith Day" for his heroic acts. He retired as first lieutenant, commander and pilot of one of the big bombers in WWII. 

John is proud of his legacy. "The life I've lived promotes freedom."

John's close friends attended the parade to show support for their brave friend.

"He was very humble," said Caryon Garrett, a friend of Smith. "You would have never known he had been through what he went through during the war and we just admired him so much. Just love him a lot."

It was hard to hold back the emotion when John talked about the people that made this day important.

"It's really great to have family and friends and I've got a lot of friends in Cisco and I'm real proud of them," said Smith. "I hope their proud of me."

John is also being honored in a special Veterans Day Ceremony at the Cisco Church of Christ Sunday Morning during the 10:30 a.m. service.