BROWNWOOD, Texas - The culmination of nearly 14 months of steady work was finally realized on Friday when the dedication ceremony for the Central Texas Veterans' Memorial took place.
Hundreds of people crowded the new $200,000 project located near the veterans' outpatient clinic on the 2600 block of Memorial Park Drive in Brownwood.
"This memorial is for all the veterans of Brown County, past, present and future," VFW Post 3278 Cmdr. James Masters said. "Our obligation is to the future."
"May this memorial serve as a permanent reminder of our unity and oneness as people, as a nation," retired U.S. Navy Chaplain Jim Looby said.
World War II veteran R.V. Rodgers was one of three who received a medal on Friday. He enlisted at the age of 19 after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.
"I know this is the greatest country in the world, and I have a lot of patriotism," he said.
Another honoree was the family of WWII airman Jack Bradley. The Brownwood native had a memorial dedicated to his service and accomplishments, which include a Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross.
"To have my dad remembered in such a big way in this town that he loved so much is a wonderful thing," Janice Bradley Garrett said.
Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes was among the several federal, state, and city leaders who spoke on Friday.
"Presidents and other elected officials come and go, but our military men and women never stop fighting," Haynes said.
But for Rodgers one simple war lesson has stuck with him all these years.
"I learned one thing - you can't tell anybody anything they don't wanna know," he said.
The memorial lists the names of the 259 Brown County veterans who've died since World War I.
For those interested in making contributions towards the $50,000 that's needed to complete the project, donations can be made to the Central Texas Veterans' Memorial, Citizens National Bank, P.O. Box 1629, Brownwood, Texas, 76804.