CONROE, Texas — Residents and visitors came out by the thousands Monday in Conroe as the city celebrates its new veterans memorial park.
"This shows the sacrifice," said Jimmie Edwards, a veteran and retired Montgomery County judge. "This is for the fallen for Montgomery County."
Edwards lost both his legs during the Vietnam war, but that didn't stop his commitment to honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to our country.
Monday marked the end of a dream four years in the making as Montgomery County officials celebrated Conroe's new veterans memorial park.
"Well, this is a remarkable park," said U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands. "Perhaps one of the best in Texas, because it's a living memorial. It's a dynamic park. It brings the old commemoration of our fallen heroes together with the new, and every year, more is added to this park."
Back in 2017, Edwards put ideas on paper to move the city's original war memorial to a proper space over a city block-wide.
Many of the meetings happened at a local Italian restaurant, owned by Conroe resident Joe Haliti, who offered to host a fundraiser for the new memorial.
"Basically, it was an idea," said Joe Haliti, owner of Joe's Italian Restaurant in Conroe. "It was on paper, but it definitely didn't have a budget. It had a zero budget. So, we started from there, and it was wonderful that the whole county, our community... our county leaders, our city leaders stepped in and helped out and made it happen."
And the community did make it happen – bringing in over $125,000 in donations for the new park. The city of Conroe donated 3.4 acres to build it near the intersection of Interstate 45 and Highway 105.
New plaques detailed America's role in the wars and conflicts joining the last park's tribute to the fallen.
Officials said they counted over 2,000 people in attendance for the Memorial Day grand opening.
With Montgomery County veterans and active-duty service members among the crowd, honoring not only service to America, but also the Texas fight for independence.
Officials also said 12 local men and women chose to leave civilian life behind taking their oaths of enlistment into the U.S. Army during the festivities.
But for Judge Edwards, Monday’s celebration is just the start of this community's commitment to our heroes. He hopes that this park will be a place where we champion our heroes and remember their sacrifice for generations to come.
"This line will continue," Edwards said. "You can fill out applications every day. We will dedicate on Veteran's Day and Memorial Day from now on. This line will extend all the way down the line of this park. It's called the line, because we hold the line. And because we're united."
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