Freeport to dedicate new veterans memorial

Event to take place at annual Veteran's Day ceremony

Nathan Cobb | 315-4432 | @WaltonSunNate |
The Purple Heart memorial honors military men and women who have either been wounded in battle or given the ultimate sacrafice for our country. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

In honor of Veteran's Day, the city of Freeport will host a ceremony on Monday, Nov. 12, dedicating a bronze statue in honor of the many veterans who have served our county in past wars.

The Walk of War memorial — a $40,000 statue depicting an injured soldier being carried on the shoulders of two others — will be unveiled in front of City Hall, in the northwest corner of the memorial grounds. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. and last about an hour. Attractions will include a guest speaker, singer and appearances from the Walton High School Air Force ROTC, Walton County Sheriff Honor Guard, the Freeport Elementary School SophistiCats and the Freeport High School chorus.

"I think this Walk of War (will be) the prettiest thing south of Washington DC," said Tim Ard, founder and chairman of the Freeport Veteran's Memorial Committee.

His connection to the cause stemmed from a friendship with a woman named Trudy Boudreaux, whose late husband Bob was a member of the original Blue Angels flight team.

"(She) stood up at a City Council meeting ... and said 'Do you think we could lay a wreath or something on Veteran's Day for the military,'" said Barbara Moore, a receptionist of Freeport City Hall and a member of the veterans memorial committee.

Ard took it upon himself to do something more.

"(The Walk of War) represents the different wars that America has been involved in, and we have veterans (coming) from each war to the point that they're still alive," Moore said.

She added that surviving veterans from past wars will be invited to stand for recognition, as a different song from each branch of the military will be preformed to honor them.

The Freeport Veteran's Memorial Committee's funds have came from local sponsors, businesses, fundraisers, and the Saint Joe Community Foundation, which has donated $5,000 a year for the past two years.

Moore said that the ceremony is something that local veterans look forward to every year and they are expecting at least 300 guests.

"We actually made plans for (the Walk of War) to be unveiled next year, but then as years passed the community really got behind the project and we've raised the money," Ard said. "Everything is done, with the exception of the bronze statue that will be the focal point and it arrived in the U.S. (Nov. 4), so we're in high hopes that everything goes smoothly."