History of the Memorial
The Veterans Memorial was built to honor the men and women who served in our military forces during the 200-plus years of our country’s history. The idea for a memorial was initially proposed by Retired Navy Commander Bob Kelety, a resident of Sun City Texas and veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the conflict in Vietnam. Even in the earliest years of the community, a high percentage of Sun City Texas residents served in our military forces, and the organizers of the memorial felt that those veterans deserved to be recognized for their service. Due to his persistence, Bob Kelety’s idea for a memorial was expanded with initial drawings, and a proposed site was selected along with a committee of residents responsible for raising funds and overseeing construction. The concept was approved by the Community Association Board of Directors on May 23, 2002, and the Veterans Memorial Steering Committee set about to raise approximately $200,000. Funds were raised by selling engraved bricks, which are still being sold today, and by seeking local businesses to be sponsors. By February 2003, the required funds were on hand including some service-in-kind provided by several companies. After construction, The Georgetown-Williamson County Veterans Memorial Plaza was dedicated on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2003.
Memorial Day 2003
Dawn began with a heavy rain. However by the time for the ceremony, the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking through the clouds. More than 2,500 residents, special guests, and visitors from throughout the county packed the entire area behind the Social Center to dedicate the Georgetown-Williamson County Veterans Memorial Plaza. The United States Air Force Band of the West from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio played patriotic music. The Army veteran chaplain gave the invocation. Color guards of three veterans from each service raised their service’s flag to the accompaniment of that service’s hymn or song. The Stars and Stripes were raised on the center flag pole, and the Georgetown Mayor led the Pledge of Allegiance. The Memorial Wall was uncovered and the crowd sang the national anthem. Georgetown and Williamson County elected officials actively participated in the ceremony acknowledging that the Memorial rightfully belonged to all the people of Central Texas, not just Sun City Texas. The principal guest speaker was Army Chief Warrant Officer David Williams from Fort Hood, Texas. Warrant Officer Williams had been a helicopter pilot who had been shot down and captured in Iraq during the early days of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. Fortunately, he had been rescued by United States Marines and returned to his unit, the 1st Cavalry Division. Our Williamson County Commissioner dedicated the Williamson County Memorial Wall containing the 165 names of those who had given their lives in combat while defending our country’s freedom.
Ten Years Later
Today, the Veterans Memorial Plaza is embedded with more than 3,600 engraved bricks. The venue hosts events from graduations and award ceremonies to band concerts and lectures. In Sun City Texas, the two most recognized events are the annual Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies. Both events feature a full program of music, service recognition, and a guest speaker.