The city of Missouri City will unveil a decade-long project to the public meant to commemorate sacrifices of the area’s military veterans on the day set aside each year to do just that.
On Thursday, the city will celebrate Veterans Day 2021 by opening its Veterans Memorial to the public next to Missouri City Hall at 1522 Texas Pkwy. The dedication ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. with representatives from various veteran’s organizations sharing remarks, before dedicating the monument and opening it to the public.
The project broke ground in November 2019 and was originally scheduled for completion last year, but was delayed because of funding difficulties and other obstacles at the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Due to the pandemic and some of the difficulties presented for getting supplies and lead times on things, that pushed it back. But we’re excited to be dedicating it now – better late than never,” Missouri City Parks Director Jason Mangum said.
Thursday’s opening will be the culmination of a project that was originally conceived in 2011, according to Mangum, and cost just south of $705,000 to construct over the last two years. The city put in a portion of the money for the design and construction, he said, but the Missouri City Parks Foundation handled much of the fundraising for the costs.
The Missouri City Parks Foundation was created in 2016, according to Mangum, for projects just like the Veterans Memorial. In fact, he said, it was the organization’s first major undertaking. In addition to the city portion, the organization received grants from donors and companies such as the George Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, and Missouri City-based Niagra Bottling.
And even though he knows it will never ultimately be enough gratitude for the sacrifices of the area’s military men and women, Mangum said monuments such as the Veterans Memorial are a good step in showing it as best they can.
“This is an opportunity for us to not only recognize them and show that gratitude, but build a place where people can come and reflect, feel a sense of pride, and be grateful for the blessings and freedoms that we all have,” he said.
Every piece of the monument, Mangum said – from its very design to the materials used in its creation –is meant to be symbolic of those sacrifices. There is a five-pointed star with columns for each branch of the service – Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force – that are placed in a circle in attempts to show that none are more “worthy” than another, according to Mangum.
In the center of the star, there is a fountain and granite blocks Mangum said represent “the foundations and bedrock” of the United States. The fountain will be lit at night, he said, to represent the “eternal flame” looking back on the past and ahead to the future. There will also be small engraved brick pavers that community members can purchase featuring the name of a veteran.
It may have taken a little longer than anticipated, Mangum said, but he believes the work has been worth it to honor the men and women who have given their lives in service of the United States.
“I tell people that building a memorial or monument for people who have served this country and given the ultimate sacrifices will never be enough – even this beautiful monument that we have will never be enough of a gratitude,” he said. “But it’s one step that we can take to show that gratitude to the men and women who served there, the ones who served us in other capacities, or those who are no longer with us.”