Story by Sgt. Melissa Bright
HOUSTON, Texas-- More than 3,000 service members and their families attended Armed Forces Appreciation Day at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, March 2.
In addition to the Houston-area service members with the Marines, Coast Guard, Air and Army National Guard and Reserve, more than 1,100 Army III Corp troops and their families were bussed in from Fort Hood, Texas; accompanied by Brig. Gen. Peter Atkinson, Deputy Commanding General (Canada) for III Armored Corps and Fort Hood.
The events were open to veterans and current service-members.
Individuals in their military uniform or carrying their military ID card were given free entry into the carnival. Once inside the gates, several events were scheduled to honor their service, starting with a catered barbeque luncheon.
During the luncheon, attendees were treated to guest appearances from two Texans cheerleaders; Miss Houston 2011, Annie Flores; and Miss Rodeo Texas Princess 2011, Liz Hughes.
Afterwards, the crowd made their way to the west side of the Reliant Center for a welcome ceremony where U.S. Army Field Band Staff Sgt. Tracy Labrecque sang the national anthem for the second year in a row following a multi-service color guard presentation.
Shortly following the ceremony, troops and their families made their way into the Reliant Stadium to watch several rodeo events including a Mutton-bustin’ competition restricted to children of military members, a demonstration by the U.S. Air Force rappel team and concert by country music artist Trace Adkins.