By Maxine Wheelan
Local veterans and residents celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Midwest City Veterans Memorial.
The stone and brick memorial, located on the east side of Joe B. Barnes Regional Park, honors men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and recognizes each of the branches of the military. Brick pavers identify families who supported the project.
Retired Master Sgt. Hiawatha Bouldin welcomed everyone to the July 12 celebration and the colors were posted by the Chickasaw Nation Honor Guard along with the singing of the National Anthem and a prayer.
Former Mayor Jack Fry spoke about how the project got started. He thanked all those who helped make it happen.
The memorial was built with support from residents and businesses. The city donated the land and some materials. The Memorial Hospital Authority also provided a grant for the project.
“It is very humbling every time you drive by it because of what it represents and what it stands for in our community,” Fry said. “… It’s just as beautiful today as it was the day, we dedicated it.”
Bouldin also recognized Bryan Barefield, who was a committee member and construction advisor to the contractors, and Fred Quinn who designed the project.
State Sen. Brenda Stanley and Mayor Matt Dukes congratulated everyone on getting the memorial built.
Bouldin later directed the crowd to the newest addition to the memorial which celebrates the U.S. Space Force. The stone and metal plaque features the logo of the newest branch of the military.
“We call it a living memorial because that’s what it’s for – the veterans past, present and to come, and their families,” Bouldin said.
A new flag made especially for the 10-year anniversary was also raised by the Chickasaw Nation Honor Guard. They included Silas Welch, Eddie Postoak and Richard Andrews.
Tony Bennett, Robert Winters, and Tom Pomelow were all present and along with Hiawatha Bouldin had spent several hours preparing the memorial for this special day.