Veterans Memorial

April 10, 2011

Some of my family and I visited two Veteran’s Memorial Parks yesterday.  Us kid’s are planning to do a commemorative stone for my Dad at one of the memorials in town.  He’s a 20 year Air Force man and very proud of his service to his country.

Did you even know that there are several Veteran’s Memorials in your state?

I didn’t.

We went to a couple parks, the difference in the memorials was night and day.  One park in a small suburban town had a pitiful memorial in the works.  The few stones that were laid seemed haphazardly placed;  kind of just stuck in the grass as an afterthought.  There was a kiosk with the plans on site, but some how it didn’t seem dignified in front of the restrooms and strip mall with the Snap Fitness sign as a backdrop.  The flags atop the poles were tattered and faded.

It was kind of sad really.

My Mom called and talked to the planner for the project.  They said they had only received about $1200 in donations and at that rate it could be five years before the park was complete.
My sis-in-law had done the research and found that there are several parks like this in our state.  My Mom called around and talked to some of the park attendees.  One older Veteran was disgusted by his city’s park.  He said that it was a disgrace. People walked over the Vet’s stones without care or concern.  That the skateboarders ran rampant and destroyed the walls with their tricks.  That trash was tossed about and people didn’t treat it with the respect and honor that it’s Veteran’s deserved.  We were all saddened by that.  The thought that someone might disparage my Father’s stone was enough to stop my Mom from wanting to take part.


But then we went to a second park in a more affluent suburb of the cities.  This memorial was near city hall, where the officials that worked there would keep vandals and destruction at bay.


This park was beautifully landscaped, thoughtful and artistic.  There were thought provoking quotes along the walkway about patriotism and bravery.  It had granite benches and big potted flowers.  The flags were bright and in good condition and each branch of the military was proudly displayed.

Just being there, reading each of the stones, gives you a sense of respect. Men from all branches were represented.  One area had a dozen or more stones all with the same  last name. Each of those men with a family. Each of those men that gave their life, or if not their life, they gave years to the service to our country.  It made me very proud to think that my Dad’s stone would be placed there.  He would be honored as he should be.  It gave me some peace knowing that I could go there to think of him, and some how I knew that his spirit might linger there too.


We are planning to give this to him on Father’s day.  Hopefully he will be able to make the trip to the park to see it for himself.  I know this will touch him deeply.  I know this will probably be one of the best gifts we could have ever given him.


So think of your Veterans.  Think about all the years you gave your Dad  or your Grandfather a silly tie, or tools, or a wallet as a gift.  Save your money, and instead put it toward a commemorative stone in one of these parks.


It will be a gift that will live on for them and for you.




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