It was a moment a long time in the making.
That seemed to be the general consensus of the those who have been dreaming of having a veteran’s memorial park over the past several years. As of Friday, it appears that dream is about to become a reality as the City of Weatherford Parks Recreation and Special Events Department, along with the Parker County Gold Star Families, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, broke ground on phase one of the new Veteran’s Memorial at Soldier Spring Park.
“This is great,” said Jack Beauchamp, father of Clayton Beauchamp, who was killed in action just over two years ago during Operation Enduring Freedom. “Several have worked very hard through the years and it’s long past due that Weatherford gets this done.”
He said the park would be great and a testament for generations to come.
“People can actually see the character and sacrifice that people from this county have made,” Beauchamp said.
Keynote speaker for the event was Retired Lt. Colonel and Texas Senator Brian Birdwell of Granbury.
Birdwell, who was working in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, suffered critical wounds when terrorists flew American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon just yards away from his second-floor office. As a result, he received severe burns to 60 percent of his body, half of which were third degree. To date, he has undergone 39 surgeries.
“This is a real treat to honor those that have served our nation in uniform,” Birdwell said.
Then, pointing to pictures of Weatherford’s fallen on display, he thanked the parents.
“These pictures are not just the lives of Americans that have served and paid the ultimate price. It serves as a reminder that freedom is ‘generational,’” Birdwell said. “It was not earned once with a declaration in 1776. It is ‘kept’ by generation after generation after generation.”
He said the men and women in uniform are trained “very diligently and difficultly,” to make sure that they are the ones that prevail on the battlefield.
“Being in the uniform of the U.S. Military is the most Christ-like thing you can do,” Birdwell added. “Being prepared to give at the point of a spear, or the point of a bullet - to suffer - and not just in the capacity of training, but in the time of war. That’s what makes this nation great.”
When Birdwell was finished, Roll Call was read aloud for those who had fallen from Parker County with Taps playing afterward.
Kaye Jordan with the Gold Star Families thanked guests and supporters for coming.
“Take a moment and look around,” she said. “It’s because of you that our sons and daughters will not be forgotten,”
So far, $64,000 has been raised for phase one of construction and the Parker County Gold Star Families, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars are currently accepting donations to reach their total goal of $250,000 for completion of the project.
For more information about the Veterans Memorial at Soldier Spring Park or how to donate visit their website at: www.parkercounty
memorial.com. Or call Jordan at 817-988-2202.