FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The city of Fort Worth has approved a special ceremony for 1 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19 at Veterans Memorial Park on Camp Bowie Blvd to honor those who served in the Vietnam War.
Groundbreaking for a Tarrant County Vietnam War-Era Memorial will coincide with a local gathering of the Medal of Honor Society in Arlington. Fort Worth’s neighbor was recently selected as the site for the National Medal of Honor Museum, with a planned opening in 2024.
“At least 220 county residents died as a result of the Vietnam war,” said Jim Hodgson, chairman of the Fort Worth Aviation Museum. “Currently, there’s no local monument to honor those who died as a result of the war in Vietnam, but we are going to change that.”
Hodgson is also the memorial project leader. He said a permanent display is being finalized for Veterans Memorial Park, which was designed by a local student to honor American service members for their sacrifices, as well as commemorate the losses to families and loved ones.”
Student artist Ryan Scieneaux, a former student at White Settlement Brewer High School and current UNT student, is working with local sculptor Michael Pavlosky to finalize the design based on input from the judges and the city’s Parks Department.
Scieneaux’s winning design is a tree with several leaves hanging from it, listing the Tarrant County residents who died serving during that era. The leaves will display the person’s name, branch of service, date of death and hometown.
According to Scieneaux, the tree represents life.
Pavlosky specializes in bronze sculptures and recently completed a lobby sculpture for the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. Jenny Conn of the Arts Council of Fort Worth is also involved in the project.
As the competition winner, Scieneaux received $500 from the memorial committee. Co-competitors and second place finishers, Emili Fazi and Phoebe Haygood, both students at Calvary Christian Academy, were awarded $300. Third place winners, Aaron Miller and Duha Kim, also from Calvary Christian, shared $200 in recognition of their creative efforts.
A coalition of Tarrant County officials, the Fort Worth Parks Dept., national and local veterans service organizations, as well as patriotic groups and individuals across North Texas are part of the effort too.
Plans for the November 19 groundbreaking include a presentation of the Colors, an unveiling of the memorial design, reading the names of the 221 fallen, and brief comments from invited guests. Period military vehicles and aircraft may also be part of the event.
“We’re inviting the public to attend as well,” Hodgson said. “In this era of the coronavirus, we’re also asking everyone to wear a mask and observe social distancing.”
Click here to see the memorial fund website.
“The interactive website was developed, in part, as an easy way to make online donations. We eventually hope to link the entire virtual community supporting this campaign,” Hodgson said.
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