Bright, sunny skies welcomed more than 200 people who turned out Wednesday morning for a special ceremony to dedicate the new Veterans Memorial at Spring ISD’s Planet Ford Stadium.
“In this space, we have found a place that will allow for reflection, learning and remembrance,” Spring ISD superintendent Rodney Watson told the crowd. “Our veterans and their sacrifices for our nation are represented with this memorial. As a community, we will be able to come together and consider the sacrifices of the past as we teach our young people their responsibilities and obligations to protect the future.”
The memorial was designed and built as part of the district’s 2016 bond program to commemorate those who have served and is located adjacent to the stadium at 23802 Cypresswood Drive.
Unveiled for the first time on Wednesday, the memorial features a circular monolith design with contemplative bench seating. Flags representing all the services – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, as well as the Merchant Marine, embrace the site. Another flag, the POW/MIA, pays tribute to those who have gone missing or were prisoners of war. IDG Architects designed the memorial, which was built by Durotech.
The event featured Spring ISD students from the JROTC programs at Spring, Dekaney and Westfield high schools, as well as LOTC students from Spring Leadership Academy. Each flag was raised by the cadets after a brief history was presented to the audience.
A highlight of the program included special remarks from Gen. Vincent Brooks (Ret.), who urged the audience to remember the sacrifices made by veterans. Brooks retired from the Army in 2018 after more than 38 years of service, including leadership of the United States Forces Korea, United Nations Command, and ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command.
“Today in Spring, Texas, we bear witness to the reality that in this community, the service of those veterans is appreciated,” Brooks said. “May it always stand as a reminder to us all that freedom is not free, that it comes with a cost. But it’s a cost worth fighting for.”
Among those who turned out for the event on Wednesday was State Rep. Valoree Swanson, who presented a special proclamation in honor of the memorial dedication, and a representative from Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle’s office.
“We know that we owe our freedom and lives to you veterans,” Swanson said. “I grew up hearing many, many war stories, and really valuing the lives of veterans, We really do appreciate all of you.”
Spring ISD Board President Rhonda Newhouse thanked those who helped make the memorial a reality, including two of her fellow trustees, Chris Bell and Donald Davis, who spearheaded the effort.
“They were committed from the beginning to creating a special place for the entire community,” said Newhouse. “It is appropriate that this memorial is located outside of our new Randall Reed Community Center, which is here to serve our community. It is my wish, and that of the entire Board of Trustees, that this memorial becomes a place where community can remember and honor our veterans.”
Serving as emcee of the dedication ceremony on Wednesday was Navy Captain James Boyer, director of the Spring High School JROTC. He said the memorial will serve as a valuable teaching tool for his students.
“I look at the memorial as something really special,” Boyer said. “I plan on bringing our students out here, doing a couple classes and going through each one of the services – where each have been and what they have done.”
Spring High School JROTC Commanding officer Nasir Prout said the memorial ceremony provided an opportunity for him and other students to collaborate and connect. “Today’s dedication recognizes everyone’s differences and similarities, and we can all stand together as a unit,” he said.