Hundreds of people descended on Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery to remember the nation’s service members on Veterans Day.

Some 170,000 people are interred at the cemetery, making up a sea of grave markers stretching as far as the eye can see.

In the midst of it all, dozens of people gathered at the cemetery’s pavilion Thursday for the first Veterans Day ceremony there since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The guest speaker, retired Air Force Col. Robert West, aircraft maintenance director for the 12th Flying Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, implored the vets in attendance to share their war-fighting experiences so they’re never forgotten.

“It is important for all of us to pass on our experiences to the next generation,” West said. “To make sure our stories are not lost. So veterans, tell your stories.”

The ceremony was highlighted by music played by “Fort Sam’s Own” 323rd Army Band and the Texas Children’s Choir, along with three volleys of rifle fire followed by the sounding of taps.

Nick Wagner

Nick Wagner is a photojournalist for the San Antonio Report.