Purple Heart Veterans are honored

TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) - A special ceremony took place Friday morning at the Recreational Complex in Trumann, as residents gathered together for the unveiling of a monument paying tribute to Purple Heart recipients.

Coordinator of the project, James Baker, says this started with an idea he and others felt was necessary. "We're honoring all purple heart veterans with this monument that we've put out here with the approval of the city council and the mayor. We felt like we needed something to show the Purple Heart veterans that we appreciate them."

Trumann resident and widow of Major James C. Payne, Betty, says this monument means a lot to her. "This is such a tribute to the purple heart recipients in Trumann. These people, we just can't honor enough. We have monuments at other places, but this particular monument is specifically for those who were wounded or killed in the line of duty."

Betty lost her husband, James, in Vietnam and says enough can never be done. "As far as this community is concerned, we can honor them over and over every year, but we cannot repay them for their sacrifices they have given this community and their country."

Baker says it has taken a long time to get to Friday's unveiling ceremony. "It's been a long process. It's been a lot of sleepless nights, but it's all for a good cause and I'm proud to do it."

Baker says it took them about a year to see this thing though. Betty says she wasn't surprised in the least when she first heard about the project. "When my husband was killed, the community just surrounded me with love and compassion. This is a giving community and it doesn't surprise me that people opened up their arms for this particular monument and gave deeply from their pockets."

Betty says this monument will serve as a reminder to those who have given so much. "Always, this will be, each time I walk out here for exercise. It's something to think about as I walk and to remember that this is such an ultimate sacrifice for so many."

Baker, "It feels great and I think everyone that's seen it says it looks great and that we've done a great job on it."

A flag and flag pole will be added to the monument area in about a week.

Baker says they'll be raising the flag on holidays.

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