For veterans living in Cherokee County, a vision that began on Memorial Day one year ago, became reality Monday. The Cherokee County Veterans Monument was dedicated in Rusk.
After a 12 month county effort of gathering donations, holding charity concerts and selling raffle tickets, Cherokee County was able to unveil its monument to those who fought for the United States on land, in the air, and at sea. Old memories and the acknowledgement of their services by their community moved some veterans to tears and left others with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude.
"It's just wonderful," said VFW Post 3406 Commander Larry Jones. "You know I was born and raised here in Rusk, played football here in Rusk, some of my buddies they are here and were in Vietnam with me, from Rusk. It's just a great feeling to know that a bunch of people are still supporting the veterans."
"It means all the world to me," said World War II Veteran James Newton. "It means after 83 years and the time, with the three or four years I put into the service, it finally got recognized."
Veterans of all branches of service were honored as the Rusk High School Band played a medley of military anthems.
The ceremony, the monument and a tribute from younger generations, let veterans know their work will not be forgotten.
"It makes me feel wonderful because I'm an old Vietnam veteran," said Larry Jones. "It makes you feel good in the heart you know?"
As long as the monument stands, it will serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by soldiers of the past and the present.
Story by Maya Golden