ATLANTA, TEXAS – The J.E. Manning American Legion Post 258 in Atlanta will hold a dedication ceremony on Memorial Day – May 29, 2023, at 10 a.m. at Veteran’s Plaza in downtown Atlanta. The event will celebrate the unveiling of a new monument honoring veterans of the Gulf Wars.
Houston attorney Tony Buzbee, a Cass County native, will be the keynote speaker. Buzbee served in the Marines and participated in Operation Desert Storm. He has since become the owner of The Buzbee Law Firm in Houston, handling large personal injury cases. He became known as a “super lawyer” after his successful litigation against BP Oil following the Deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Atlanta Mayor James Brooks and Cass County Judge Travis Ransom will also participate in the ceremony. All East Texas politicians and dignitaries, as well as Texas Governor Greg Abbott, have been invited to attend.
“It usually takes about 20 years after a conflict for a monument to go up, but we wanted to cover all of the wars that started with Operation Desert Storm in 1990,” said Commander Michael Steward.
This will be the first monument in the Ark-La-Tex to honor the veterans of The Gulf Wars that started in 1990 and ended in 2021. This includes those conflicts are most commonly known as “Operation Desert Storm,” “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and “The War in Afghanistan.”
The monument was designed by Vice Commander Mike Lee. “I did a small-scale rough sample in the wood shop of what we want. I made it to match the existing memorial in the plaza that honors veterans of WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.”
The group has been raising money for the last few years by selling American flags, frozen meals and raffle tickets. Last year the Atlanta Founder’s Day Festival Committee donated the proceeds of the event to the cause – the amount of $10,000 – which brought their funds to just over $15,000 – roughly half of the total memorial cost.
Several local companies have offered free materials and labor to get the monument built. Dusty Reeves is donating the labor for setting the concrete, which is being donated by Martin Marietta-Atlanta Ready Mix. The rebar is being donated by Price Hardware.
The monument, ordered from Texas Custom Stoneworks in Winnsboro, Texas, will consist of a center pedestal on a round, raised base. The pedestal will be surrounded by four tall stones representing each conflict in the Persian Gulf from 1990-present, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We are going to go ahead and have the pedestal and the first stone made and set,” said Commander Steward. “The company is ordering all of the stones at once so the coloring will match. They will hold three for us until we have the money to order the engraving and setting on those.”
If you wish to contribute to the memorial fund, please contact Commander Steward at 903-796-9918, or message the Legion’s Facebook page: J.E.Manning American Legion Post 258.