DVIDS – News – MEDCoE joins the returning Battle of the Flowers Parade


JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the historic Battle of the Flowers (BOF) parade returned with a host of excitement as part of the Fiesta San Antonio 2022 events. Col. David Zinnante, Chief of Staff, MEDCoE, and Sergeant Major James Musnicki, Sergeant Major for Academic Affairs, Commander’s Office, represented the Army Medical Center of Excellence American during the parade.

As they rode the parade route in a Fiesta-themed HMMWV, the packed crowds erupted in joy upon seeing the soldiers. Marching in front of them carrying a colorful MEDCoE Viva Fiesta banner, Drill Sgt. Shane Beasley-Hall, 188th Medical Battalion, Master Sgt. Ryan Figueroa, Medical Academy Medical, and Master Sgt. Tara Laramee of the US Army Medical Test and Evaluation Activity waved to the audience along the two and a half mile course. The military vehicle was driving by Staff Sgt. Stephen Fatheree and Spc. Ruth Marcum, both assigned to the 188th Medical Battalion.

Echoing the excitement of returning from the parade, Zinnante described the feeling of representing both command and the U.S. military.

“In six years and after being stationed at Fort Sam Houston, this is the first Fiesta event I’ve had the opportunity to attend,” Zinnante said. “It’s a real honor to be here on behalf of the entire MEDCoE.”

Zinnante’s sense of being honored to represent his command was shared by Musnicki. In 2000, Musnicki participated in the BOF parade as a drill sergeant and felt honored to return once again to represent the Army.

“We are part of the community,” Musnicki said. “This is our chance to get out of our military base. I know for the past two years we’ve been held back during COVID, and the community kind of shut down. This is our chance to get out and to mingle.

The support for the army and all the soldiers present at the parade was evident. Bernice Brown was among the audience and took a moment to express her thanks.

“I love the military,” Brown said. I’m retired from the Air Force and I love the military.

Her friend Casandra Colon, a retired army soldier, said her family currently serving in the army came to show their support.

The pandemic had left many honored San Antonio traditions on hold, and with the return of Fiesta San Antonio, people gathered to watch the parade visibly showed their enthusiasm as the many colorful floats, marching bands and other participants saluted and shouted ” Viva Fiesta”.

Due to ongoing road construction this year, the parade route was changed from Broadway Avenue to Main Street, but still completed the final stretch past the Alamo and ending downtown.
While the route was new and presented new logistical challenges, the parade’s return eclipsed any minor issues that arose with the two-year hiatus and changes.

The Battle of Flowers Association, a nonprofit civic organization, plans and organizes the annual parade, which is one of the highlights of Fiesta San Antonio. Ms. Torrey Stanley-Carlton, the parade’s military chair, said what so many others thought about the return of the parade.

“We wouldn’t have a parade without the military,” Stanley-Carlton said. “They are the essential keystone. To have the military here with us and to be back is wonderful.

Stanley-Carlton served in the Battle of Flowers Association for 26 years, including 10 years as military president. The city of San Antonio owes its annual Fiesta to a small group of passionate and dedicated women who started it all with the first Battle of Flowers Parade in 1891.

Once the parade was over and the Soldiers returned the vehicle to Fort Sam Houston, Spc. Marcum reflected on the day: “We made a lot of people happy today. It was fun”.

That’s what the return of the BOF means for the community of San Antonio. A return to normal, a return to traditions and a chance to have fun again.

Date taken: 04.11.2022
Date posted: 04.11.2022 11:17
Story ID: 418244
Location: FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, USA

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