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City dedicates park for veterans

City dedicates park for veterans

By Judy Reed

Most people in the area have a friend or family member who has served their country in the military. Many also have a friend or loved one who died doing it. The city of Cedar Springs and surrounding area now has a park to honor both kinds of heroes.
“Veterans Memorial Park is for all veterans,” remarked City Manager Christine Burns.

The park, which is located at the corner of E. Oak and Main Street, was dedicated July 4. The Cedar Springs American Legion color guard led the way down Main Street, followed by police and fire personnel. Burns, Cedar Springs Mayor Charlie Watson, and Councilor Ronny Merlington all spoke at the event. Burns spoke of her appreciation of Dan Brown, who spear-headed the operation.

“If it weren’t for his persistence, we wouldn’t be standing here today,” she noted. Burns said that Brown continually called or stopped in to City Hall to remind them of his passion. “That passion was the construction of a park honoring those who have served this nation to ensure our freedom,” she said.

The city donated the land for the park, but it was Brown who raised the money and recruited companies and individual volunteers to participate in the project. Burns publicly thanked them all at Sunday’s ceremony.

At the ceremony, Watson recited the oath of allegiance that he took as a member of the Air Force to support and defend the Constitution. “These words, this oath of allegiance, are the same words that each and every Airman, Guardian, Marine, Sailor and Soldier has repeated and sworn to uphold. Agreeing to stand, side by side with their brothers and sisters, and if necessary to fight and sometimes die. To defend freedom and a way of life we all believe in. It is with this in mind that I stand before you with the greatest admiration and gratitude for each and every (one who has served) even one day, for its because of you and your willingness to serve, that we are able to build and enjoy this little park that means so much to so many,” he said.

On August 28, a Fallen Heroes Monument for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom will be installed and dedicated in memory of Spc. Timothy Brown, of Nelson Township, who was killed in Iraq several years ago. Dan Brown is Tim’s uncle, and that has caused some to think the park was meant only as a memorial for Tim.

“We’re trying to clear up that misconception,” said Burns.

There are other spots left where monuments can be installed if someone would like to sponsor one for a previous or future war. And, according to Watson, names can be added to the memorial, if the need arises.

Burns said that they would still like to install a handicapped parking spot and do more landscaping in the park, and are still accepting donations for that. If you’d like to donate, contact Dan Brown at 292-8767 or City Manager Chris Burns at 696-1330.

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