Veterans memorial would honor more than 6,500

Published on Sunday, 10 November 2013 23:00 - Written by DAYNA WORCHEL dworchel@tylerpaper.com

Retired Army Lt. Col. Jim Snow said creating an East Texas Veterans Memorial to honor the men and women who have sacrificed their lives is a point of pride.

“It’s a very small percentage of our society that bears the burden of the cost of freedom,” Snow, also president of the Rose Capital Chapter of the Military Officers Association, said on Friday. To ensure that the memories of those veterans are never forgotten, the chapter is spearheading an effort to build the memorial to East Texas veterans, an idea first proposed in 2011.

The memorial will recognize veterans who served in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines across the centuries, according to a press release from the Military Officers Association of America.

Service recognition includes the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Texas Revolution, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars and the Panama Invasion. Also included are the Gulf Wars: Operation Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom, and the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as conflicts around the world where Americans served, according to the press release. Fallen service members who died while serving their country will be especially revered.

Plans call for the memorial to be sited on nearly two acres and can honor more than 6,500 East Texans with engraved stone plaques that include the honoree’s name, rank and branch of service, service years and war designations.

“It’s still an open-ended question about where the memorial will be — we are hoping for a land donation,” Snow said.

Snow said veterans have created a separate nonprofit organization, the East Texas Memorial Committee, to raise money for the memorial and has received its 501(c)(3) designation. The nonprofit organization is handling the logistics for the design, construction, and future operations of the Memorial. They are raising money for the memorial by selling memorial plaques with the veteran’s names, private donations, grants, and community fundraising, Snow said.

“Veterans can be memorialized, or a veteran’s family members can honor their loved ones in the setting of the new Veterans Memorial grounds, which will include landscaping, paved pathways, benches and walls for the plaques,” said Mike Everheart, project manager for the Memorial.

Architects Gary Martin and Jeff Basehore have designed the project, and hundreds of East Texas veterans have given their input over the past two years, according to a press release.

“This monument is a great opportunity to show what veterans mean to East Texas,” retired Maj. Gen. John Furlow said.

For more information on the East Texas Veterans Memorial, contact MOAA President Jim Snow at 903-363-2212 or East Texas Veterans Memorial Project Manager Mike Everheart at 903-877-2691.