Monuments honoring veterans to be installed in downtown Waco

Posted at 2:38 PM, Apr 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:35-04

Two new monuments recognizing veterans for their service will be placed in downtown Waco by next month.

The memorial with 123 names will be located next to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on University Parks Drive and Washington Avenue. 

Veterans of Foreign Wars Past District Commander Larry Bethea Jr. said in 2014 he and other veterans came up with the idea to honor those who died in the Korean War, Gulf War, Iraq War and the war in Afghanistan.

“We need to recognize our fallen veterans. That’s our responsibility as veterans to recognize these veterans. I think it’s very important to their families also, to let them know you really appreciate them," Bethea said.

Joe Phipps with Phipps Memorial is donating the monuments, which have a total cost of $1,900. He is also paying for the cost to install them next to flag pole on Jefferson Avenue.

“I have never met anyone as kind to veterans as Mr. Phipps. Anything I asked him, he always came through and helped us," Bethea said.

Waco Parks and Recreation Director John Williams said when Phipps approached them with the idea, officials supported it from the start.

"It's a continuation of what we already have from the Vietnam War memorial and it gives people an opportunity to see that the city of Waco is honoring those individuals who have given our lives in service to our country," Williams said.

He also said as a veteran, he thought it was a good recognition.

"We don’t talk a lot about the Korean conflict or Afghanistan, and I was in the military during that period time when the Gulf War and those conflicts were happening," Williams said.

Bethea who served in the U.S. Army for 27 years said those veterans deserve the honor.

“I love what I do. When it comes to helping veterans, that’s what I’m here for," Bethea said.

The monuments are expected to be in place by Memorial Day. 

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