To enhance community involvement, project organizers reached out and gained support from local high school ROTC programs who have agreed to help keep the memorial area clean.
Bouldin said that for a fee any person can have a name inscribed on a brick that will become part of a monument.
“We want this to be the community's monument. One built by and for them and one that they can take pride in,” Bouldin said.
Originally, project organizers hoped to have the monument built by Veterans Day. Since organizers needed to extend the deadline they decided to partner with the city to host Midwest City's first Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 12 to celebrate the memorial's future groundbreaking.
“We are getting closer to it,” Howell said.
Cornelius said he is still surprised by the attention his idea received.
“All I wanted was a flag, a pole, a hole in the ground and cement. But people caught onto the sentiment and now it's become quite a tribute,” he said.
While Cornelius did not serve in the military, he said his family members did and he was taught to respect America and the flag.
“I didn't have the pleasure of serving but I'm very patriotic,” Cornelius said. “My parents and grandparents displayed the flag. It has helped us stay free all of these years; the least we can do is display it.”
Cornelius said though his idea sparked the project, he is not solely responsible.
“I just had the dream, but I'm not responsible for making it happen,” he said. “There's no way I could have done this all on my own. Without these people, I'd still be banging on doors.”
To find out more about Midwest City Veterans Memorial, to keep track of its progress, or to make a donation visit www.aplaceofhonor.org.