The new veteran’s memorial will be the first for the town in Midwest City, Oklahoma.
Four years ago retired businessman Andy Cornelius walked through Joe B. Barnes Regional Park and had an epiphany about the American Flag. That park serves as the center of the community that also heavily invests in the military. Not flying the stars and stripes didn’t make sense to Cornelius. So, he began knocking on neighbors doors and asking friends what they thought about this idea. Met with incredible support, the original plan blossomed from one flag into an entire memorial.
A committee of friends, neighbors, and patriotic residents headed the project, with an estimated total cost of $200,000. This will be the first veteran’s memorial for the town. Five flags will represent their respective military branch, along with the American flag, state flag, and prisoner of war flag. All flags will fly year round. Visitors can pay tribute to the men and women that have served by either reading the names displayed, or by just taking a moment to say thank you.
The memorial will also have plenty of seating, a paved courtyard, and be accessible to those handicapped. Organizers say they plan to hold tribute events on holidays that celebrate the armed forces. Project chairman Hiawatha Bouldin said, “This memorial is not for a hero. It’s for all of them – all our veterans, past, present, and future.”
Bouldin was one of the first friends Cornelius reached out to for support and commented with, “We want to put something out there that our children will appreciate. We want it to be more than a memorial; we want it to be a living monument.
The greatest challenge for this project was gathering the necessary funds. However, the Midwest City Rotary Club helped with the initial cost of beginning the project. Other invaluable groups include private donors, Midwest City companies, and fundraisers. For a fee, anyone is welcome to have a name of a military person inscribed on a brick that will be part of the memorial.
This project was originally scheduled to be completed by Veteran’s Day, but the deadline needed to be extended. However, the memorial committee is now partnering with the city to help host the towns first Veteran’s Day parade on November 12th.
“All I wanted was a flag, a pole, a hole in the ground and cement. But people caught onto the sentiment and now it’s become quite a tribute,” Cornelius said. He did not serve in the military, but had plenty of past family that did that taught him to respect the U.S. flag and all it stands for. And, although Cornelius may have thought up the idea, he is not solely responsible for it. He has a whole town to thank for that.
Credit: News OK