Looking out over a crowd of more than 100 veterans at the Sherman Senior Citizens Center Tuesday night, the hats stood out. They were mostly just simple ball caps, with a few garrison hats sprinkled in here and there, but the text on each harkened back to something much larger: "Vietnam Veteran," "U.S. Marines," "Korean War."

Looking out over a crowd of more than 100 veterans at the Sherman Senior Citizens Center Tuesday night, the hats stood out. They were mostly just simple ball caps, with a few garrison hats sprinkled in here and there, but the text on each harkened back to something much larger: "Vietnam Veteran," "U.S. Marines," "Korean War."


These hats represented life-changing events for the men and women who wore them. Such was the case for a cap displaying "USS Colorado," worn proudly by World War II Navy veteran Vernon Inman at Girling Hospice’s veterans event on Tuesday.


"I was born and raised here in Sherman. I got two brothers that was in the service during WWII. All three of us still alive, we all three still live right here in Sherman," said Inman, who served on the battleship Colorado in the Pacific Theater. "It’s a wonderful pleasure to know that everybody respects that the U.S. is still a wonderful country to live in, and respects the service men who protected their country that they love and care for."


Inman’s sentiment was expressed frequently throughout the evening by several speakers, chief among them Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, himself a veteran of the Second World War.


"Home was a word that was big to all veterans, all of us who were serving to honor home. Home meant everything in the world to you," said Hall during his keynote remarks. "It’s the hardest thing to do, to go through a war, come back and get started again. I have so much respect for all those men and women who answered the call and are here tonight."


Hall’s speech followed an opening prayer by hospice Chaplain Terry Maze that brought some in the dining hall to tears. Retired Air Force Capt. Tom Unerfusser presented plaques to four representatives, one from each branch of the service, with the help of his wife Cindy, also retired from the USAF.


"They needed an officer to present plaques, so they asked me to present, and I said, ‘Sure!’" explained Unerfusser, who logged more than 4,000 hours in the air during his 22-year military career. "I like to go to community events and come out and support this kind of thing."


Sherman Mayor Cary Wacker said it was important to her that the city be represented at the event as well.


"This generation, it’s so important that we remember and honor their service," said Wacker. "It’s just very important to be able to tell them how much we appreciate the veterans of this county, and the city is really pleased to be a part of that."


Before receiving an American Flag honoring his service, Hall reminded the crowd that, in many ways, they are the lucky ones.


"I came from a serving family — my dad was in WWI; he was in Germany. He and my mom used the money he received from the service to buy the house I grew up in. And for me, I got an education out of (the GI Bill)," said Hall. "But when you send a young boy or a young girl off to war — 19, 20, 21 years old — and they don’t come back, for that family, the war is never really over. So we need to remember to pray for them. For us, we have good health and truly something to be thankful for."