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Reflection and education aplenty at Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial, where many observed the holiday

Posted at 6:04 PM, May 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-31 19:04:58-04

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — Residents of the Brazos Valley are remembering veterans who are no longer here in a number of ways on Memorial Day.

For some, it's bringing the family out and hitting the trails at the Veterans Park and Athletic Complex, for others, it's reflecting when seeing a loved one's name etched within the wall of honor.

For Sarah Dobrovolny, she's reminiscing her father today in a special day, something she does every year during this time.

"This is my Dad Charles L. Dobrovolny. He served in Alaska in in WWII," she shared as she pointed to her Father's name.

Her father, a veteran of the United States Army, no longer with us, she says seeing names on the wall is a reminder of the touching impact from those who served.

"Memorial Day isn't just celebrating and having fun, it's remembering these people. It seems like the best place to celebrate with the lives of those people and seeing how many people are on that wall," she added.

The Wall of Honor is just one facet of the 12-acre memorial site honoring military veterans. Some visitors took advantage of the many exhibits of the major wars including the Fleming family.

When asked why he was at the park on Monday, William Fleming said it was to "remember the long wars and the people who fought in them."

His dad, veteran, Kenneth Fleming, said seeing the memorials is a learning moment for his children.

"People gave their lives in each one of these events, it's not just one in particular, but it's a history of sacrifice. For us, that's important."

Kenneth Fleming says learning is a priority for his family and being at the park serves as a reason 'why' we observe the holiday.

"Going through each one of these, the bigger kids can go through and read the panels and learn something new and the little kids can just experience the sequence of what happened first second and third and they can also be active," Kenneth added.

Fleming who served in the US Air Force says he believes there are a number of reasons people pass in the military, but honoring them should be all the same.

"Sometimes it's mental illness, sometimes it's in the middle of the war. I think I know more people that suffered through mental health issues," Kenneth said. "To be put in harm's way it's really the same heart behind sacrificing yourself," he added.

Even the youngest of Brazos Valley residents are looking to the flag today, like April, who is simply counting them.

"I made a homemade flag. I am actually counting how many flags I can find.. right now I found I think it's 39. I am not for sure. I forgot. I am going to keep going and counting flags," 7-year-old and Brazos Valley resident April Vajdak said.

"We all enjoy learning about those highlights of history, but sometimes we glaze over and miss the cost, not only to the individuals who lost their life, but also to those around them, the families members that were left behind," Kenneth Fleming added.