The unveiling of the stately black granite obelisk honoring Grimes County World War I (WWI) veterans April 6 at Historic Anderson Park was the culmination of a two-year dedicated effort. It began with a wreath laying April 6, 2017, by the Robert Raines Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) on the 100th anniversary of America’s entrance into WWI.
The fundraising done and mission accomplished, the threat of rain Saturday far from dampened the spirits of the 125-plus in attendance that included local, state and national dignitaries. DAR Chapter Regent Kathy Cave Wells served as master of ceremonies.
Brady: “Our heroes”
Following a reception at the First United Methodist Church in Anderson, the ceremony began with church bells rung by the Pocahontas Society of the National Society of Children of the American Revolution; “Assembly” played by Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band buglers, Enrique Degollado and Isa Saldivar; and the posting of colors by the Heroes of ’76 from College Station.
After pledges, invocation and the “Star Spangled Banner” led by Johnny and Lisé McNally, U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady told the audience, “It was by all counts, the world’s bloodiest battle. More than 100,000 of our troops never returned home and twice that many were wounded and yet they served with pride and honor, rarely talking about their service and sacrifice. But today in Grimes County, in this park at this special moment, our first message is to those descendants - that we honor you, our veterans.”
He continued, “The second message is to the community … our priority is to remember all those who served and sacrifi ced and bled for our country, our freedoms, our liberties and our history. The third message … to our future generations is that this is our proud past, this is our heritage in Grimes County. As you work toward the future, remember the past, the proud past of Grimes County. Every veteran and every loved one and every supporter of those who served our nation, some of who never returned to our shores, these are our heroes.”
Fauth: It’s for us to teach history
Grimes County judge Joe Fauth III told the audience that WWI is still taught in school today, “thank goodness!”
He continued, “It’s important for us to remember our history. We can’t do away with it. We can’t forget it. We need to remember it. We need to study it. That’s why this monument is so very important as we hear in the news about monuments being taken down and parts of history being modified and changed. That’s not for us to do. History is history. It’s for us to teach it.”
Fauth dispensed some WWI facts he speculated most people didn’t know. For instance, that blood banks were created during WWI, as was plastic surgery to deal with shrapnel wounds. Fauth, a Navy veteran, also shared that his grandfather served during WWI in the Navy.
He said, “He went to war as a boy and fortunately he returned as a man. That’s part of the history of my family and I’m proud of it.”
Marcy Carter-Lovick, Vice Regent of the Texas Society DAR, told the audience that the Texas DAR “did much in support of our boys overseas” through relief work that included working with the Red Cross, knitting, sewing, canning and buying liberty bonds - “lots of liberty bonds.”
She said, “Today, more than 19,000 members of the Texas Society of the DAR continue to steadfastly promote patriotism. One of the ways they accomplish this is by the placing of historical markers commemorating landmark events in American history, such as the marker being dedicated today.”
Lynn Forney Young, NSDAR Honorary President General Commission, U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission was credited by Wells as saving the chapter from disbanding and “enabling us to celebrate our 100th birthday in 2013.”
According to Young, the chapter organized in 1913 with 17 members, and 15 years later raised funds for the LaSalle Memorial in downtown Navasota and later traced the LaBahia Trail through Grimes County.
She said, “This small but very determined chapter has served God, home and country for more than 106 years. The amazing ladies of this chapter raised more than $13,000 thanks to the generous citizens of Grimes County. This beautiful memorial is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when we work together.”
With the United States’ 250th birthday approaching in 2026, Young challenged everyone to leave a legacy.
On behalf of the chapter, Wells presented certificates to Carol Debose, Vanessa Burzynski, Connie Clements and Ana Cosino of the Navasota Examiner, Betty Dunn and Two Rivers Heritage Foundation and Cindy Bell and Historic Anderson Park for their efforts on behalf of the monument.
Fauth presented a proclamation on behalf of Grimes County, and Anderson Mayor Gail Sowell presented a proclamation on behalf of the town of Anderson.
Sowell prefaced her presentation by saying, “I’m so thankful for all our veterans. For almost all the 66 years of my life, I have been able to go to bed at night and sleep in my bed peacefully and not be afraid, so thank you all for that.”
Preceded by “God Bless America” led by the McNally’s, the unveiling of the red draped obelisk tied with a red, white and blue bow was assisted by Carter-Lovick, the Pocahontas Society and Robert Raines Chapter members.
Young violinist Mackenzie Mayfield then played “Amazing Grace” followed by Carter-Lovick reciting the poem “In Flanders Field.”
The benediction by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #4006 commander Carl Dry and “Taps” played by Degollado and Saldivar concluded the ceremony.