MIDWEST CITY — A dream became reality Friday.
Retired businessman Andy Cornelius went on a quest a few years ago to have a U.S. flag placed in Joe B. Barnes Regional Park. That led to a full-fledged veterans memorial, which was dedicated Friday with nearly 300 people in attendance.
“I would've been happy, frankly — I first talked to Ron Sullivan I believe — with a flag, a flagpole and a hole in the ground and a bit of cement,” Cornelius said during the ceremony. “I think sometimes he wished he had said yes, would've been a little quicker.”
The memorial, which was not completely finished in time for the dedication, features three flagpoles and pavers inscribed in memory of veterans.
Project Chairman Hiawatha Bouldin said he was not concerned about the work yet to be done. He said it is a living memorial, “not just brick and mortar, we want to keep it that way.”
Every branch of the military was represented at the ceremony.
Cornelius and members of his family raised the U.S. flag while Mayor Jack Fry and a representative from Hudiburg Auto Group raised the Oklahoma flag.
Former prisoner of war, Charles Selby, raised the POW and MIA flag.
Alfonoso Flores, a rifleman with the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 85 honor guard, said the memorial means a lot to him because he is a veteran with 38 years of service.
“When our veterans are recognized like this by a little memorial, it's a great honor,” Flores said.