Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza officially opens to honor legacy of our fallen heroes
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - After years in the making, the Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza is open to the public. Located on the west side of the Sparks marina, its mission is to honor the legacy of our fallen heroes.
When a patriot gives their life while serving to protect our freedom, that sacrifice goes beyond the battleground. It’s also made at home by loved ones like Shandra Gipson whose grandfather was a lieutenant colonel in the army and served in Korea, Vietnam and World War II.
“Everybody gives, the family, the person who is serving,” she said. “I think there are so many people who take it (the sacrifice) for granted, especially these days. Unfortunately, the military doesn’t hold the same place in our hearts that it used to and I think that any way that we can honor them and pass on ways to honor them to our kids and to the next generation. We have to make sure to bring that back and keep that important in our society.”
Since 2014, organizers of the NVMP have been raising money to honor state veterans and commemorate the ones who paid the ultimate price.
“See, if you don’t realize how much something costs then we’re not as grateful for it and so for me I love that we’re laying out the cost,” said Kristopher Dahir, president of NVMP and Sparks councilmember. “This is the cost of freedom and I think it’ll make people slow down and say, You know what? That’s worth keeping, I’m going to cherish that because someone paid for that.”
The memorial, paid for by donations features 896 names of American soldiers as well as a place for teachers and parents to explain the history.
“Up front, there’s going to be papers of freedom,” said Dahir. “So you have your Declaration of Independence, your Bill of Rights, Constitution, all that together and it’s exciting ‘cause that will be the first piece but then you get to walk around but then you get to walk to hallowed ground and see the names of the men and women who actually gave up their life.”
“This is not a memorial for me, I’m here,” said J.R. Stafford, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Sierra Nevada Chapter. “This memorial is for the 850-something names and there will be more, unfortunately.”
The NVMP will also have a Ron E. Smith educational path honoring the late Sparks mayor who is a co-founder of the plaza.
More than 1,000 commemorative bricks have been sold and installed at the project. Bricks can include a variety of information like the Veteran’s name, rate, rank, military branch, and where they were stationed. These bricks will continue to be sold with these sales benefitting the plaza project. Additional bricks will be installed in waves. Bricks range from $100 to $1,000. To purchase a commemorative brick, click here.
On Veterans Day, Friday, November 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sparks Florist will be onsite with a flower donation. Sparks Florist will be giving flowers to the public to place at the wall and memorial benches to honor fallen Veterans.
To learn more about the project, visit nvmp.us.
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