Athens Review, Athens, Texas

July 26, 2013

Project in final stages

Veterans Memorial has been ‘gigantic project’

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — Work on the Henderson County Veterans Memorial at the East Texas Arboretum is now in its final stages.

Bob McDonald, who has played a major role in the project, reported this week to the Henderson County Commissioners Court on the progress of the project. The spacious memorial is located at  the Arboretum facility on Patterson Road in Athens.

“It’s been a big undertaking for us,” McDonald said. “The research itself was a gigantic project.”

Work on the two red-brick curved walls located within an open plaza with a bronze eagle sculpture overlooking the plaza is now completed. All that remains  some of the work on the periphery of the memorial and landscaping, McDonald said.

McDonald said the work on the project should be completed in a month to six weeks. The grand opening for the memorial is set for Veterans Day on November 11.

“The purpose is to honor veterans who enlisted in Henderson County, or were natives of Henderson County, and enlisted elsewhere,” McDonald said. “The names of the living and the dead are engraved by the war period.”

There are now about 9,200 names on the memorial. The names date back to the Civil War and progress through the most recent enlistment’s. Future county members of the military will be added to the list as the become available.

The Henderson County Veterans Memorial in the years to come will be a lasting reminder of the contributions of veterans who served to protect and preserve freedom for all Americans.

“This is a joint project of the Arboretum and a number of donors,” McDonald said. “No public funds whatsoever have been used in the project.”

McDonald thanked Sheriff Ray Nutt for allowing the use of Henderson County Jail trustiess in providing labor in the process.

“We want everybody to come out and look at it,” McDonald said. “It’s getting pretty far along.”