By Steve Pickett

WAXAHACHIE (CBSDFW.COM) – At first glance, the golden stone wall that sits between a trio of flag poles in front of Life School Red Oak Secondary Campus offers little to garner attention.  But with a closer view, an observer would find the name of Joel Ramirez, his date of birth and date of death, attached to the wall.

“It may be made of brick and stone, but at the heart of this memorial is honor and respect,” Waxahachie native Greg Compton commented during the formal dedication of Ellis County’s Veterans Memorial Wall.

The wall recognizes veterans of the 9/11 era killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Joel Ramirez’ name is the first attached to the wall.  The Waxahachie native was killed during a tour of duty in Afghanistan in April of last year.

“For me, my son is still alive,” Ramirez’ father Feliciano Ramirez said.  The family cut a yellow ribbon, listened to patriotic speeches, and talked about the oldest son and brother, now known as the first person dedicated to the Ellis County memorial.  “I thank everyone for this,” Ramirez said.

The fallen veteran’s brother also wanted to show appreciation to the community for the acknowledgment of Joel’s service and sacrifice.  “He was always a caring person.  He always put others in front of him,” brother Daniel Ramirez said.

Six other Ellis County residents have lost their lives in battle in the past decade.  Their names will also be added to the memorial wall.   The memorial can be found at 3295 U.S. North Hwy. 77 in Waxahachie.

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