Recently, I received an email from one of my favorite nephews who lives in Coppell, Texas, writing to me about a project he’s involved with to create a veterans park to honor all the Coppell veterans, and especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.
Admittedly, Coppell, part of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, at 42,000, is a bit larger than Riverside and able to afford a plan for a grand park. However, my nephew’s email has caused me to investigate what Riverside has done to commemorate its own heroes. I was quite disheartened to find the answer to be “not much,” almost nothing lately (54 years), leading to my writing this message.
Riverside’s Gold Star Memorial in Guthrie Park honors five veterans who died in World War I and 44 from World War II, with a plaque attached to a large stone listing each of their names.
On the sides of the large stone are plaques that, unfortunately, cannot easily be viewed. For Korea five names are listed and for Vietnam two names are listed, but the Vietnam plaque is likely an incomplete listing, since it incorrectly lists the Vietnam War as being 1965 to 1969, instead of 1955-1975.
The incorrect end date of 1969 for Vietnam could indicate that 1969 was the last time anyone paid attention to or updated anything at the site, 54 years ago. The plaques have survived reasonably well but the commemorative area is not visually appealing.
There are no plaques for other conflicts where the U.S has been engaged, the Gulf War, Iraq or Afghanistan. There is an American flag flying at the site but there are weeds around much of the area and the site looks a bit forlorn and not much like a monument for heroes. Let’s do something about it. Where are Riverside’s patriots?
The village should, with the help of its living veterans, create a committee to come up with a funding plan, an engineering, construction and cost plan for building a new and very much improved Gold Star Memorial, and a plan for its upkeep. Let’s make it happen.
Mike Sammon, Riverside