Members of the First Cavalry horse detachment were among people honoring first responders in Belton on Sunday. The parade stopped to lay wreaths at the Bell County Sheriff’s Department, the downtown Belton Fire Station and the Belton Police Department.

BELTON — Marcia Cross of Belton led a horse parade through downtown Belton on Sunday afternoon in honor of first responders, the military and health care workers.

Four riders from the First Cavalry Division horse detachment of Fort Hood headed up the parade. About a dozen participants followed, some of them mounted, with others leading their horses.

The circular route began at Belton Feed and Supply and ended at the Belton Police Department. During the parade, David Cross, Marcia’s husband, laid wreaths at the Belton Police Department, the Bell County Sheriff’s Office, the Bell County Courthouse, Belton Fire Station No. 1, and the war memorial on the police department lawn.

Marcia Cross, a horse trainer who has ridden in other parades, said she thought the weekend before Christmas was a good time to show support for law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics. Other factors, she said, were the circumstances caused by COVID-19 and the negativity against police officers.

At the war memorial, Boyd Lechimenant spoke briefly and led a prayer. He said he hoped there would be a rise in citizen support of first responders, the military and health care workers.

Jeff Buuck, chief deputy of the Bell County Sheriff’s Office, expressed gratitude for the parade. The younger officers have been feeling very conflicted because of the public negativity as portrayed by some in the media, he said.

One horse in the parade had boots backwards in the stirrups, Cross said, representing first responders who have put their lives at stake.

Another horse had a symbolic angel on the saddle. Cross said it stood for the “health care workers who have been taking care of us in the COVID conditions.”