Veterans past, present and yet to come were honored Friday morning in Aledo as the city held a dedication ceremony for the new Aledo Veterans Plaza.
"It was a journey. That journey began when I first became mayor," Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall told the crowd.
The ceremony featured veterans of all ages and from all branches of the military. Captain Andrew Caldera of the United States Navy delivered the keynote address.
"Here in Texas we have an amazing collection of veterans in so many ways," he said. "As a community, you are an extension of our families. We leave them in your care.
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"This memorial, after we're gone, people will drive by, they'll remember."
The Plaza is located at the intersection of FM 1187 and Old Annetta Road. The planning for the Plaza began about a year ago and construction began five months ago.
"As an elected official, I'm telling you that's probably a record," Marshall said with a laugh.
The final cost will be about $96,413, Marshall said.
The design includes a five-sided granite obelisk monument with etchings honoring the five branches of the military - Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. It is sitting in the middle of a star with engraved donor bricks, three flag poles, and five granite benches located at each point of the star.
Antique red paved stones will surround the star to fill the circle of Honor. The three flag poles are lighted, representing the United Stated, Texas, and Prisoner of War/Missing in Action.
"It is important for our communities and our country to honor veterans who have served this country," said Nick Stanley from Congresswoman Kay Granger's office. "This Plaza shows the support this community has for veterans."
Judy Flanagan, from Representative Phil King's office, added, "That heart comes from the mayor."
Caldera reminded the crowd that Veterans Day was originally Armistace Day, made a national holiday in 1938 to honor the end of World War I. In 1954 it was changed to Veterans Day.
"It was meant to represent all veterans," he said.
Caldera also noted that sadly only about one of every 60 U.S. citizens even knows someone who served. However, he added they are all around us, in places such as first responders and police departments.
Marshall stressed that the Plaza is not a memorial, that it is there for veterans living and dead, and those who have yet to don a uniform.
"Today, we honor you, our veterans," she said, calling them the heart and soul of the community. "That's what makes us a community."
The ceremony also included an invocation by Pastor Jim Witherow, presentation of colors by the Texas State Guard Color Guard, a flyover from the Air National Guard 136th Airlift Wing, presentation of flags from Stanley and Flanagan, raising of the flags by the Texas State Guard Color Guard, monument unveiling and fireworks display.
Lindsey Dover, a student at Aledo High School, sang the "Star Spangled Banner."