Audio Tour Part Two

Full Audio Tour

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Memorial Home

Audio Tour Part Two

To begin Part Two of the audio tour, move to the center of the inner ring of the Memorial.

Surrounding the ring are separate pillars for each of the five branches of the military that existed on the date the Memorial was dedicated – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The multiple branches remind us of the diversity of the individuals within our military, who help maintain America’s strength.

As you cross the black stained ring that displays the “Veterans Memorial” gold lettering, you will see the Battlefield Cross, placed on a simple base. This is sometimes referred to as a “Soldiers Cross.”

The BATTLEFIELD CROSS is a symbolic representation of someone who has been killed in action. Comrades-in-arms erect the cross to show honor and respect for the brave souls who gave their lives in service to our country.

We don't actually know where or when the battlefield cross was first used. Some believe it may have been during the Civil War where it could have been used to signify the location of a dead soldier for proper burial.

During the Korean War, the battlefield cross gathered even more significance when America's fallen heroes were taken to a staging site prior to their return to the United States. The battlefield cross provided closure for the fallen soldier’s comrades.

Starting with the Gulf War in 1991, the battlefield cross evolved. A battlefield memorial is made up of the soldier's rifle stuck into the ground or into the soldier's boots, with helmet on top. Sometimes, dog tags are placed on the rifle, and the boots of the soldier can be found next to it. Frisco’s statue has been personalized, displaying the State of Texas on the left side of the helmet.

It is common during a battlefield memorial service for the fellow service members of a fallen comrade to touch a portion of the battlefield cross to say good-bye. It has become the iconic symbol of sacrifice, honor, and respect for the fallen soldier.

While standing at the Battlefield Cross, look up to see the POW/MIA FLAG, flying alongside the American and Texas flags. Most know and can recognize the POW/MIA flag, but fewer know its Vietnam War origin, history and what it represents today.

In 1970, the National League of POW/MIA Families designed a flag to honor and bring attention to the plight of our POW/MIA forces in Southeast Asia. That banner was approved in 1972 and it became the national symbol for the improved treatment of POW's and providing more information about those missing in action. In 1989, this flag became the only flag, other than the American colors, to fly over the White House. Only the American and POW/MIA flags are displayed in the United States Capitol Rotunda.

The POW/MIA flag has evolved to be “the symbol of our Nation’s commitment to achieving the fullest possible accounting of service members who remain missing and unaccounted for from every war.” It is our Nation’s solemn duty to remember. That is why the mantra, “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN” is on the POW/MIA flag and is frequently used to this day.

In July 2018, the remains of 20 soldiers from the Korean War were found. Two years later, the remains of 20 year old United States Army Sergeant William Cavendar, who went missing near the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea, were identified. More than 70 years after his death in combat, this soldier returned to his hometown of Leslie, Michigan for a proper burial. For all those killed, still missing or whose remains have not yet been recovered, YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.

In 1979, our country established a national day of recognition, observed each year on the third Friday of September, as POW/MIA Day. On the back side of the Memorial, next to the Walk of Honor, you will find a plaque offering you more information on the POW/MIA flag, along with specific details on the former Vietnam POWs.

Now, move to the outer ring of the Memorial. Circling the outer ring are four brick columns with Information Plaques. They represent the wars and conflicts our Nation has been involved in, since Frisco was founded in 1902. Each side of the Memorial has two columns and each column displays two plaques. Those eight plaques highlight 18 separate wars or conflicts where American’s have served our nation and defended freedom around the world.

Most people have heard of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, but few know of the eleven men on Frisco’s Wall of Honor, who were killed in action during these wars. The specifics of The Cold War, Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, the Iraq War or even the War in Afghanistan, may be less familiar.

The Information Plaques share a great deal of history and help supplement knowledge about these conflicts. Here are a few examples of what is inscribed on them:

  • World War I – “Armistice Day” honored World War I veterans, but in 1954 President Eisenhower changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day, honoring ALL veterans. During “the war to end all wars”, five million Americans served and 2.8 million were deployed overseas.
  • World War II - The Nazis killed more than eleven million people, including six million people of the Jewish faith. In Poland alone, 3 million Jews died at the hands of the occupying force. At that time, this represented 90% of the Jewish population living in Poland.
  • The Cold War - After World War II, the Soviet Union blocked access to West Berlin. The western Allies broke the Soviet chokehold with the eleven month-long Berlin Airlift. In 1961, the Berlin Wall construction separated Berlin into two sections. After 28 years, the Berlin Wall finally came down, effectively ending the military actions of the Cold War, which included a nuclear arms build-up between the United States and the Soviets and a space race between the two Superpowers.
  • The War in Afghanistan – It began as a result of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Afghanistan’s Taliban government refused to hand-over Osama Bin Laden to our United States forces. Bin Laden was known to have been the primary planner and commander of the attacks on America’s homeland.

As mentioned earlier, the military draft of civilians into the Armed Services came to an end in 1973, when the United States Armed Forces adopted an all-volunteer military. Nine of the eighteen battles referenced on the Memorial plaques started after that time. Many of the volunteers who chose to serve in the Armed Forces believe – “If not me, then who … If not now, when?” A grateful nation honors our warriors and their courage and commitment.

After reading more about the wars and conflicts that our nation has joined, consider asking a family member or friend about their military service. If you ask, you might be amazed at the stories you will hear!

This brings to an END Part Two of the audio tour. Continue the tour with Part Three.

Continue to Part 3