ATHENS — In the neighborhood of 8,000 to 9,000 names will appear on a memorial honoring veterans from Henderson County who served in the military.
The memorial will be constructed on the west end of the arboretum in an open area near the historic Wofford House and will have a small parking area by it, McDonald said.
“It’s mainly to honor all those that served their country. We feel like patriotism in this country is not like it used to be. Anything we can do to push that is something worthwhile,” McDonald said.
“The Henderson County Veterans Memorial will forever recognize the contribution of veterans who served to protect and preserve freedom for all Americans,” he said.
The memorial is going to open up a floodgate of people coming to the arboretum who are interested in seeing the memorial wall in honor of their relatives or friends who served from Henderson County, predicted Teresa Glasgow, arboretum director.
The memorial fits into the arboretum’s mission statement to honor the past, present and future of Henderson County and East Texas, she said.
“This is a big honor that we are able to (have) it here and we are glad to do it,” Ms. Glasgow said. “We were asked by several people if we would be interested in taking on this project to honor the vets.”
“Something about the garden and grounds is soothing to your spirit, mind and body and I think the arboretum is the perfect location for the veterans memorial,” she said.
The plaza circle will be 110 feet in diameter and each of the two walls will be about 65 feet long bearing 36 engraved granite panels. The walls will be 12 feet tall. The memorial will display the American and Texas flags in front of the walls.
The panels cannot be ordered until organizers have a fairly complete list of names to go on the panels, McDonald said, although there will be space for more names of new inductees into the military services or anyone left off to be added after the monument is constructed
He estimated volunteers already have accumulated approximately 6,000 names, but said they are still seeking names of other veterans from Henderson County to be included.
“We are urging veterans and families to respond to us,” McDonald said, “if you served, or if you know of someone who served in our military forces.”
A form for use in submitting a name may be found on the arboretum’s web site at easttexasarboretum.org or in an advertisement that will be run repeatedly in area newspapers for the next two or three months.
The forms may be mailed to Veterans’ Memorial, P.O. Box 2658, Athens, 75751.
McDonald said the memorial will be erected at a significant cost, with funding coming from a couple of sources. The arboretum also is asking for donations.
For more information about the project, call the arboretum at 903-675-5630 or McDonald at 903-681-1721.
The East Texas Arboretum is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that relies on membership fees, contributions, donations and facility rentals to fund its annual operating costs.