TEXAS CITY — When their son’s name was called, Jose and Juana Jaurigue stood in front of a crowd of veterans and their families at Texas City’s Memorial Park with a red, white and blue banner between them.
On the banner was a picture of their son, U.S. Army Cpl. Michael James Jaurigue. He was just 20 when he was killed during his second tour in Iraq in 2007.
Jose Jaurigue said his son was determined to join the military after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
A banner commemorating his service soon will fly over the city’s streets along with more than 20 other banners with the names and pictures of local veterans.
They are part of the Hometown Heroes Banners program being rolled out in the city by the American Legion Post 89 in Texas City.
The program is a nationwide American Legion effort, said Ray Stone, second vice president of the American Legion Post 89.
“What the banner program is designed to do is to honor veterans past and present,” he said.
Stone helped bring the program to League City last year. Now Texas City will be the second city in the county to take it up.
Anyone, a resident, a company or a group, can sponsor a banner for $200, he said. Each banner, 18 by 36 inches, will honor a specific veteran and includes the veteran’s name, a picture and the branch he or she served in, among other information, Stone said. The city will hang the banners along Palmer Highway and other areas around town.
All the proceeds from the banners go back to the American Legion and the many programs they sponsor such as scholarships for children of local veterans and the Wounded Warrior program, he said.
Once the banners begin to fade or fray they can be taken down and kept by the veteran, their family or the group that sponsored the banner, Stone said.
“The purpose of this is to honor our veterans and let them know that they are not forgotten,” Stone said. “They still are our hometown heroes.”
The banner program also helps bring attention to the American Legion and the many services it can provide to veterans, Stone said.
More than organize parties and events, an American Legion Post can help veterans figure out how to get their benefits from the Veterans Affairs office and help provide camaraderie and a place to meet others who have gone through similar experiences, Stone said.
The banners will all be up by Aug. 15, said Dennis Harris, co-director of the recreation and tourism department for Texas City.
The banners will also be mapped so the families will know where their banner is located, he said.
At a ceremony on Tuesday, veterans and their families were presented with their banners. There were banners honoring men and women from the various service branches and who had served in recent wars as well as those six decades ago.
Lolo Velasquez, who served in the Navy during World War II from 1942 to 1946, was there among the many other veterans to receive a banner with his picture on it.
“As these banners go up around our fine town it will show our hometown heroes that their sacrifices are not and will not be forgotten,” Stone said.
Jose Jaurigue said it was good to remember the service of these men and women made on days other than the typical memorial or anniversary days.
“You want your son to always be remembered,” he said. “(The banner is) one way of doing it.”
At a glance
WHAT: Hometown Heroes Banner program in Texas City
BANNERS: Banners come in two sizes. A large banner is 18-by-36 inches and costs $200 to sponsor. Smaller banners are 9-by-18 inches and are $25. Each banner will honor a specific veteran and includes the veterans name, picture and the branch he or she served in, among other information.
Contact: Ray Stone, second vice president of the American Legion Post 89, at 310-686-1927.