By Ray Augenstein
Even damp, rainy weather could not dampen the spirits of those who attended the ground breaking ceremony for the “Veterans Freedom Park” of Clare County. It will be located in Harrison, across from the courthouse on the corner lot of Broad/Main Street. Harrison Community Schools has generously donated this lot for the veteran’s park. The ceremony was attended by many veterans and their families. Tears and smiles of pride could be seen on their faces as many veterans could feel the appreciation of our grateful county.
The ceremony started with the arrival of the Color Guard provided by the American Legion 404/ VFW 1075 who presented the Flags, while the Harrison High School Band played the national Anthem. The Invocation was given by Clare County Sheriff John Wilson.
Renee Haley, Director of Clare County Veterans Services, and President of the Veterans Freedom Park, Greeted the guests, and introduced each speaker. State Senator John Moolenaar, State Senator Judith Emmons, Congresswomen’s Representative Brandon Fewins, and Clare County Commissioner Lynn Grim. Also in attendance were Clare County Commissioners, The Superintendent of Harrison Community Schools Tom House, and 2 World War II veterans as recognized guests.
The Veterans Freedom Park was birthed about 3 years ago and quickly gained the support of the County
Commissioners. The effort to find a location was solved when the Harrison Community Schools felt they could donate a portion of land for this project. This park is made possible by the donations, fund raisers, and grants provided for its establishment. The Veterans Park has 2 major fund raisers a year. A 5k race, and a golf outing. Although it has reached the groundbreaking point, only about 50% of the funds needed have been raised.
This park will be a culmination of efforts of those, who feel that our service men and women in all branches of the service from our County, those still living as well as those who died in the service, deserve to be recognized and honored for their faithful and untiring service to our country. The recognition will be for all service men and women, of all the wars and conflicts, which called our young men and women away from their homes to defend our freedom. The Park will feature a Black Granite Wall of Tears, with the names of Veterans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Black Granite memorial benches may also be purchased in remembrance of veterans, which will be placed in the park.