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Veterans Memorial Wall dedicated to fallen military from Texas

By ALEXANDRIA RODRIGUEZ | Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Texas | Published: January 13, 2018

BISHOP, Texas (Tribune News Service) — At 5 years old, Irene Bowie lost her father. While the Corpus Christi Veterans Band played "Taps," Bowie was overcome with emotion as the music brought her back to the memory of her father's funeral.

Bowie, a Bishop native, was one of many friends and family of fallen military members who attended the unveiling of a Veterans' Memorial Wall Dedication at Amistad Veterans Memorial Park on Friday.

The monument, made of gray and black granite, features the names of service members who died in combat from Bishop, Driscoll, Petronilla and the surrounding areas. The name of Bowie's father, John Phom Bowie is engraved under the Korean War, though he also was sent overseas during World War II, Irene Bowie said.

"No matter what branch you are, this is your park," Nueces County Commissioner Joe A. Gonzalez said.

The wall sits between American and Texas flags. A statue of a military solider kneeing down and a military rifle and combat boots also rest on both sides of the wall.

The project, which has been in the works since about 2011, Gonzalez said, was accomplished in group efforts between Nueces County Commissioner's Court, private donations and Inland Parks Director, Edward Herrera.

"The 32 names on the wall are engraved as an eternal tribute," Gonzalez said. "The name of the park was changed from Amistad Park to Amistad Veterans Memorial Park, in honor of all veterans."

Alongside the wall are existing benches, which feature names of veterans and their families, including John Phom Bowie's.

"I grew up across the street. We used to play here when it was an empty field," Irene Bowie said. "It's so beautiful, and we love it. I'm deeply moved."

The monument features the art work of Jeremy Flores, of Portland, and was constructed by International Consulting Engineering for more than $100,000.

Flores created all of the imagery for the memorial. The back features an eagle, with an American flag in its background. That image took him just two weeks to paint.

The front of the monument depicts a group of soldiers placing a flag into the ground, reminiscent of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

"Think of those names on the wall ... those names of your neighbors, your classmates, your friends, your brothers, sisters that are listed on this momentum." said Ram Chavez, Army veterans and founder of the Veterans Band. "We honor them and we salute them, and we never forget them, especially those who served with them."

©2018 the Corpus Christi Caller-Times (Corpus Christi, Texas)
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