Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Denton to establish tribute for fallen area soldiers
The walk has been in progress for about a year, with the city of Denton donating labor for the installation.
A walk of honor comprised of plaques with the names and pictures of military members killed in the service from Denton County will open in the next two weeks in the Spc. Ernest W. Dallas Jr. Veterans Memorial Park.
About half of the monuments of the 19 men who were killed in Operation Desert Storm and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been erected, said Jim Mays, superintendent of park maintenance for the city of Denton.
The walk, which was paid for primarily by donations, serves to honor the memory and allows people a place to grieve and learn about the lives lost, said Monty Slough, a Vietnam veteran and the director of Denton County Fallen Soldiers Memorial.
“These boys are my brothers, and they have a right to be known now, not 20 years down the road when nobody cares,” Slough said.
Denton County Sheriff’s Sergeant Phyllis Broomfield lost her son 2nd Lt. Johnny Craver in Iraq in 2006 when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated. She said the walk is a “beautiful place” that allows the community to see the sacrifices her son made.
“It means a lot to us to have the walk,” Broomfield said. “I want people to remember what a brave and honorable man he was. He volunteered to go to Iraq, and he loved his country.”
The remains of many servicemen are located in various military plots and private property around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The walk will provide a more convenient place for the families to go honor their loved ones, Slough said.
“I don’t want the families to remember their soldier as a coffin with a flag,” Slough said. “Looking at a tombstone is depressing, but the idea of putting a picture in makes you feel good in the heart.”
The walk has been in progress for about a year, with the city of Denton donating labor for the installation, Mays said. The memorial will be continually updated with new plaques if additional people in the military are killed, Slough said.
For Broomfield, the walk leaves a lasting legacy of her son who left behind a wife and three children.
“He was determined to make something of himself, and he wanted to go in the army. He sacrificed a lot.” Broomfield said. “He wanted to be remembered as a soldier.”
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