COPPERAS COVE — The Central Texas community welcomes the traveling Purple Heart Memorial Wall. The wall pays tribute to fallen service members from Texas killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The wall arrived from San Antonio.
There are 646 names on the wall, including 10 female service members. One of the females is from Copperas Cove, a sobering reminder of the sacrifices soldiers are making every day.
“I seen this wall displayed a bunch of years ago at Carl Levin Park in Harker Heights, Texas. And since then I just want to bring it back to Copperas Cove so that our citizens in the surrounding community can have the opportunity to see it," said Jonathan Haywood, an Army veteran.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart Central Texas chapter, along with other veterans organizations, pitched in to bring in the wall piece by piece after the procession. The procession started on Patriot Circle and police led the wall and the veterans organization representatives through the city.
“We are just simply paying homage those who did go before us. And the people from Copperas Cove have sort of a link because of our closeness to Fort Hood and the National cemetery just south in Killeen," said Frank Seffrood, the Copperas Cove Mayor.
The memorial was started back in 2005 by a man in Houston who paid for the wall to be made to honor fallen heroes. But it has been coming to Copperas Cove in the last few years.
It is a personal experience for many, as veterans said they know people whose names and faces sit on each panel.
For the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1876 life member John Footman, it has special meaning.
“Supporting this wall and it means a lot to me to support this wall for the families and to see these people out here that’s supporting me, it’s great and I love doing it," said Footman.
Operation Stand Down's Joann Courtland said the number of veterans on the wall is shocking.
“Knowing that this Memorial Wall is from Afghanistan and Iraq, the number to me is staggering for Texas veterans, as a Texas Veteran myself," said Courtland.
But it is also a reminder of the current events around the world for some veterans.
"We know that wars are going on. And if nothing else, this is a reminder we go through life day by day doing our own thing, but sometimes we just need to take a minute and say thank you to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for us," said retired Sergeant First Class Acquanetta Pullins, Chapter President of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
There will be an unveiling ceremony on Saturday, as part of a larger Independence Day event. The public is invited to attend and pay respect to the fallen listed on the panels.