Touching Fallen Warriors Memorial in NW Houston
The Fallen Warriors Memorial in the northwest portion of Houston is very touching. I can well imagine that it brings some solace to the friends and particularly the family members who view this impressive display.
Both of my brothers served in that war during the 1960s. Jim was in the Army and John served in the Navy. While we did not personally know anyone whose name was etched into the wall, it brought tears to my eyes as the names were somberly read off one by one.
My brother Jim who flew aboard the Huey helicopters had many of his compatriots who lost their lives during that war. So without knowing which names, some of them would have been some of my brother’s Army buddies.
This Fallen Warriors Memorial came about because of one lady by the name of Cheryl Whitfield. She is active in the non-profit organization called the National Memorial Ladies. In fact she founded the organization in 2008 and served as the President.
Those ladies attend the services at our beautiful Houston National Cemetery when our military men and women are laid to rest. Their mission is honoring those who lose their lives in protecting the rest of us in the cause of freedom.
One day she came up with the idea of creating a lasting memorial outside of the grave sites of the fallen heroes. She wanted people to know the soldier’s names, keep their memories alive and have a place where the families of the fallen could gather in remembrance.
Support came from donors both large and small. Some people chose to honor their loved ones by purchasing plaques or bricks. Others chose to have chiseled remembrances installed in slabs on the exterior surrounding the memorial.
The land was donated by the Cy Champ Utility District. It operates and maintains the Cy Champ Park which has a running trail and nature path.
Dedication of this memorial must have been wonderful to attend. On October 6, 2012 it took place with some congressional representation and groups of people like the Boy Scouts, a school choir and elementary school students.
Patriot Guard Riders are motorcycle riders who attend grave site services showing respect for the fallen and their families. They also protect the grieving families from protestors who could disrupt services. The Patriot Guard Riders were also in attendance during the opening ceremony.
There was a flyover by two T 45 Goshawks which are jet flight training aircraft. They came from the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas. Also making a flyover was a UH 1 Huey Helicopter…the same type my brother would have been flying in as a crew chief. The Huey Helicopters were mainly used for medical evacuations during Vietnam as they could get in and out more easily than larger aircraft.
Michael Murr was consulted to do the landscape design. It is a beautiful setting with trees cradling one side of the memorial and open parkland to the back. From the parking lot one walks through a wooded area before getting to the memorial.
Security cameras are in place to protect the Fallen Warriors Memorial from any kind of defacing or mischief makers. The overall design of the memorial is well planned.
With the 8 foot central granite centerpiece with the soldier’s boots, helmet and rifle on top, the 4 large black granite walls with inscribed names of the fallen fan out like spokes on a wheel.
The granite walls contain the names of soldiers from Texas who have shed their lives. Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom are all represented.
Sadly there is room for more names and they will undoubted be added as time passes. In excess of 600 names are already listed. Each of those people had families and loved ones.
Red benches are there for people who wish to sit and spend a bit more time. Supposedly the color symbolizes the blood shed by the fallen soldiers.
While the memorial is not huge in terms of overall size, when one considers the number of lives it represents…it is huge in terms of symbolism and meaning.
As Americans who live in the “Land of the Free” we must always be thankful for those who risk their lives for us in maintaining that freedom.
You can locate this very touching memorial here: 14500 Cutten Road, Houston, Texas 77069.