AUSTIN (KXAN) – For the first time in 14 years, the state of Texas has a new governor. Greg Abbott officially became Texas’ 48th governor on Tuesday. With his wife and daughter at his side, Abbott took the oath of office on the south steps of the Capitol.
In his inaugural address, he referenced the accident that left him unable to walk, calling it “highly improbable” that he would go on to become governor. He went on to highlight other Texas success stories, but did say there was much more the state could do.
“More for the families stuck in traffic. More for parched towns thirsty for water,” said Abbott.
Abbott also said more can be done when it comes to veterans who return home broken from battle.
That strikes a chord with Robert Simmons, who came early to get as close as he could to the stage. He found out his first inauguration would be more emotional than he expected.
“God does bless America, in so many ways,” Simmons said holding back tears. After 24 years in the US Air Force, he’s here to watch a display of freedom he fought for, and hear words of praise from the governor and lieutenant governor.
“I’m kind of sentimental about respect,” Simmons said.
Simmons attended the ceremony with Douglas Dixon, who served with him in Vietnam.
“It’s neat cause we fought for the freedom that we saw here today and we’re not alone. I mean, the ones that paid the ultim—,” Dixon said stopping mid sentence.
“Ultimate price,” Simmons continued.
“Yeah, we both lost a lot of friends,” said Dixon.
Forty years after the Vietnam War ended, they drove here from Lubbock and Granger, to reflect on the past together and hope for the future.