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100 Cities / 100 Memorials & Memorial Hunters Club

Blog postings about our program to support the identification, rescue and conservation of our Nations WW1 Memorials.
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Matching Grant Project Profile - Brown county, Texas

Matching Grant Project Profile - Brown county, Texas

Brown County Texas has submitted their grant application to 100 Cities / 100 Memorials. Here is a profile on their project from their submission:

Restoring the World War I Memorial Brown County Texas

Very few if any American Legion Posts have done as much to restore, preserve, and improve their World War I Memorials as American Legion Post 196 in Brownwood, Texas. Our local World War I Memorial was placed at Brownwood High School in 1921. Funds were raised for the memorial by the Brownwood High School Class of 1921. Brownwood High School opened in 1917 and closed in 1961 when a new high school was built across town.

The World War I Memorial was located behind a bush, and most people had forgotten about it. With the help of the Central Texas Veterans' Memorial committee, the original World War I Memorial was moved from its old location to a new Central Texas Veterans' Memorial location in the 36th Division Memorial Park in Brownwood.

The World War I Memorial that honors those who served, fought, and died in World War I was weathered, aged, and forgotten. This was a sacred memorial to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I, the Great War, the War to End All Wars. Most people have forgotten the shared sacrifice that united our country in World War I. In 19 months of war from April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918, our country of 92 million people suffered 117,465 total fatalities of which 53,402 were combat deaths. Additionally, there were 204,002 wounded. Many countries in the world sustained a "lost generation". Many soldiers knew they had a "rendezvous with death". The book "Miracle at Belleau Wood" by Axelrod should be required reading for every American.

We moved our old World War I Memorial to its new site in 2016. The new memorial site included the old World War I Memorial along with a new granite tablet with the names of the 39 Brown County veterans who died in World War I, a new plaque with the wording from the old World War I Memorial that had become difficult to read, and another new plaque telling about the original World War I Memorial. The cost just for the World War I portion of the memorial was approximately $12,000. The profound words on the original World War I Memorial were these:

To those men from Brown County
Who rendered valiant service in the world war;
Who feared not;
Who believed in the sacred principles
Upon which this republic is founded;
Who preferred death to slavery;
Who signified a willingness to give their lives
And to perpetuate democracy;
This monument is reverently dedicated.

The new Central Texas Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 11, 2016. The podium for the dedication was placed in front of the old World War I Memorial. United States Congressman Mike Conaway was our guest speaker. The memorial was dedicated at exactly 11:00 AM on November 11, 2016.

The Central Texas Veterans' Memorial honors all Veterans, but especially the 259 Veterans from Brown County who made the ultimate sacrifice from World War I forward. There were 39 fatalities in World War I, 198 in World War II, 8 in the Korean War, 11 in the Vietnam War, and 3 after September 11, 2001. The memorial consists of 12 granite tablets around a 75 foot diameter concrete circle. 

They honor the 259 local heroes; Fighting 36th Infantry Division-Texas National Guard-that trained here in World War II; Camp Bowie-Brownwood Texas; Major General Fred Walker-commanding general of the 36th Division in World War II and representing all officers from Brown County; Commando Charles Kelly-The One Man Army-the first recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor in Europe in World War II and representing all enlisted men from Brown County - especially those who returned from all wars with PTSD; the Lost 36th Division Battalion in the Vosges Mountains of France; the Lost 36th Division Battalion on Java; and Colonel Jack Bradley who was Brownwood's most decorated combat veteran. We moved the old World War II Memorial from across town to this new site. We also have plaques honoring veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Additionally, we have a concrete walking trail just under 1/2 mile long with a handicapped water fountain and benches for people to sit and rest. There is a handicapped accessible sidewalk leading to the VA Clinic and to Brownwood Regional Medical Center with blacktopped parking and multiple van accessible handicapped parking spaces. There is an area for Veterans' Memorial Bricks which includes bricks with the names of many local veterans.

American Legion Post 196 is very proud to have been vitally involved with the restoration, preservation, modernization, and memorialization of the original World War I Memorial and the new Central Texas Veterans' Memorial in Brownwood, Texas.

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