VeteransDay-Parade

A retired Army officer and former Olmos Park City manager is staging a Veterans Day celebration in Shavano Park, with a spotlight on the men and women who fought during World War II.

Mike Simpson, now an alderman in the North Side suburb, and his wife, Barbara, are organizing the free event at 2 p.m. Nov. 11 at Shavano Park City Hall, 900 Saddletree Court.

It will feature memorial performances by the Extended Run Players, a group of senior citizens who perform Readers’ Theatre, and are associated with the Theater Department of the University of the Incarnate Word.

“Our freedoms are paid in the blood and sacrifice of our veterans,” Mike Simpson said. “This is a day to recognize the living and thank them for our life we live today. San Antonio is known as military town USA.”

Simpson, a retired lieutenant colonel who served as Olmos Park city manager from February 2011 to July 2013, said the event is a way to say “thank you” to all service members.

A special focus will be on World War II veterans, highlighted by the Extended Run Players in their performance.

“At the Veterans Day event they will be reading excepts from oral histories of World War II veterans who live in San Antonio,” said Barbara Simpson, the group’s artistic director. “In addition, they will be singing songs of the World War II era. The show lasts about an hour.”

Military service runs in the Simpson family.

Mike Simpson is a combat veteran, having served 24 years as an Army Ranger and Green Beret, with tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His father fought in World War II in the North Africa and Italy campaigns, and a brother served in the Vietnam War.

Barbara’s father also was a World War II veteran and her mother was a pilot in the Women Airforce Service Pilots during that global conflict.

Their oldest son, Isaac, has served 25 years as an infantryman and Green Beret with tours in Iraq and in the Philippines; their middle son, David, served 15 years as an infantryman with two tours in Iraq and one in Kosovo; and their youngest son, Mike, served six years as an infantryman with a tour in Iraq and for three years as a Green Beret before he was killed in action while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan in 2013.

They also have a daughter, Abigail.

The alderman said Veterans Day remains a time to honor and remember those who sacrificed.

“We need to recognize them (veterans) and their contribution to our way of life, freedom and prosperity that we enjoy today. If not for their willingness to sacrifice, we might not have any of the freedom, and certainly not the prosperity, we enjoy today,” he said.

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