Hundreds of people showed up to honor local veterans at the Williams Own Veterans Memorial dedication ceremony Saturday.
Years of planning, fundraising and sculpting by local artist Neil Logan culminated with local veterans unveiling the finished statue and memorial wall.
The memorial honors 14 Williams servicemen who were killed in action. At the ceremony, Charles Bassett read each service member's name and rang a bell after each one.
Before the unveiling, Mayor John Moore expressed his pride and gratitude to the people of Williams for contributing to the statue.
He said the two thoughts that come to mind when he thinks of the memorial are "freedom is not free" and "all gave some, some gave all."
"You just have to have a place in your heart and respect for those people," Moore said. "That's why we can stand here today and do what we want to do."
Andy Tobin, the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, spoke at the ceremony about remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
"I see in front of me a plaque under this statue that shows a young lady and a child and a dog right here in Williams," he said. "Somebody's missing, somebody who didn't come home."
Tobin said citizens have an obligation to remember those who died in action, adding that he was honored to pay respect to our military heroes at the ceremony.
"Those who served and died for us all over the world in foreign lands in places they never knew are part of this today. They fought for an ideal," Tobin said. "America doesn't fight to acquire land and to be more prosperous. They fight for an ideal that made our nation. They fight for an ideal called freedom."
Camp Navajo Commander Colonel Kim L. Gage also spoke at the ceremony, thanking all veterans for their service.
"You are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served this country admirably, selflessly and with honor," he said. "This memorial and the hearts of these people here today are always with you and your families."
Gage said the memorial not only honors those who died serving, but all those who served, including several veterans who came home to Williams and are making contributions to the community.
Although Gage said the nation is now facing several challenges, he said he's hopeful that the country's best days are still ahead.
"The reason I feel that optimism is because of what I see and what I feel around me here today in the city of Williams," he said. "You serve as the heart of our great nation and that pulse is beating powerfully with strength and with passion."
Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
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How about an article on the overall improvements to Monument Park itself? The difference in the park between a couple years ago when it wasn't looking so good and today is just remarkable. Every resident of Williams should be proud of not only this particular monument, but the entire park.