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Small Town Memorials

Amazing Stories of Heroes born of Small Towns

Small town memorials may not garner as much attention and prestige as the famous memorials of America (The Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, etc). But they are often just as striking - even if on a smaller scale - and they can have amazing stories behind them. Here are a few small town memorials that are worthy of recognition.

Sometimes small towns can have some of the most touching and amazing tributesNearly every small town in America has at least one memorial tribute in some special part of town, devoted to the memory of American military personnel - usually soldiers who served from that particular town. One of the more striking of these memorials that you might see is located in West Columbia, Texas. That tiny town is well known to history buff as the very first capital of its state and, accordingly, historic landmarks abound. But one of its most well-visited landmarks is the one memorializing the hundreds of local men and women who have served in America’s wars. The solemn, open-spaced memorial is beautifully surrounded by flags and commemorative bricks that residents of the town routinely purchase in honor of their loved-ones serving in the military. Unlike many other small town memorials, this one will be updated several times a year with the addition of new bricks, thereby assuring its place in the town’s culture long into the future.

A war memorial in Des Moines, Iowa takes a different approach. That city’s Fort Des Moines Memorial Park is a tribute to the first African American U.S. Army officers who were trained at Fort Des Moines in 1917. It also honors the first Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp, which was also started at that base in 1942. The memorial park is combined with an education center that is visited by people from across the world every year, but, at its heart, it is a tribute to a strong spirit of racial and gender justice that remains at the core of Des Moines today.

Small towns are often rich with history, and will special tributes in that respectNot all small town memorials are military related, of course. Springfield, Massachusetts has built a well-visited memorial to, perhaps, its most famous native son: Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as legendary children’s book author Dr. Seuss. This memorial is an elaborate sculpture garden that brings to life the famous characters and scenes of Seuss’s beloved books. Much of Dr. Seuss’s creative work has its roots in Springfield, where his German immigrant parents encouraged his creativity with plenty of visits to the local zoo and other places that inspire the imagination. So this memorial is more than just a tribute to Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991. In many ways, it captures the spirit of all that is that town.

Still other small town memorials pay homage to local heroes that similarly brought life to their city’s history. Port Aransas, Texas, for example, celebrates the life of beloved singer Patsy Jones with the Patsy Jones Memorial Ampitheater that is one of the most popular spots in town on many summer nights. Nearby Corpus Christi, Texas also honors the memory of its local music heroes with a “Walk-of-Fame” style memorial in the courtyard of one of the city’s most loved restaurants. Towns across America routinely set up similar small town memorials to their local idols. Small town memorials can provide an insight into – more than just one town – the entire heart of what the United States of America is all about. Consider that the next time you are traveling through a small town that may have an interesting memorial.

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