VAN BUREN (KFSM) - What once was a tribute to veterans built in 1975, is now a revitalized memorial in the heart of downtown Van Buren.
On Wednesday, the city held a special dedication ceremony for the newly constructed Veterans Memorial Plaza. About 150 members of the community were in attendance to show their appreciation of our service members.
“This is an amazing tribute not only to the ones that have gone before, but the ones that still have yet to be,” said Matthew Hicks, an Army veteran and current Robert Jack VFW Post 1322 quartermaster in Van Buren.
The memorial plaza, located on the South side of Main Street, is designed to inspire reflection with its numerous fountains and iconic battlefield cross representing those who have died while fighting.
“I want this to be a spot of reflection, of solitude, and of thanks,” said Mayor Bob Freeman, who is also a veteran.
It's also is the second phase of the Freedom Plaza project.
The first phase, known as Freedom Park, was completed last July. It’s an open, green-space located on the North side of Main Street and includes an interactive fountain feature, benches, and picnic tables. It’s also being used by the local farmer’s market.
Both of these sites are supposed to encapsulate the spirit of the “Four Freedoms”, which were emphasized by President Franklin Roosevelt 75 years ago during his famous speech when the U.S was on the brink of entering WWII.
Those freedoms include: Freedom Of Speech, Freedom Of Worship, Freedom From Want and Freedom From Fear.
Mayor Freeman also added that Freedom Plaza is part of the city’s overall revitalization.