Sometimes it's hard to make young Americans understand the true value of our freedom and the price that has been paid to protect and secure our liberties.
I remember driving through a parking lot in Payson a few years ago and stopping to let an older gentleman cross in front of the car. Each step the man took seemed to strain his aging muscles as he slowly walked across the asphalt.
Two of my young children were anxious to go inside the store and became impatient complaining about the wait and speaking about the old man with an air of disrespect.
I stopped their complaints and asked them to look at the man again, this time using their imaginations. I told my sons to picture the man with a rifle in his hand as he stepped past the bodies of his fallen friends on a beach in a faraway land.
I asked them to imagine it was me, gone to war in a foreign place and to imagine how it would feel to wonder if their daddy was ever coming home. I asked them to picture their mother crying at night, left all alone because I had been killed in battle.
I asked them to look at these older men and women with more than their eyes because they were the ones who fought in great wars or supplied what this country needed to win its many battles for freedom.
Now Payson has been given a wonderful gift that stands as a powerful reminder of why we should honor not only the men and women who served this country, but the very freedom they purchased for us with their lives.
On Monday, the long awaited and beautiful Veterans War Memorial was dedicated at Green Valley Park. The memorial vividly tells the story of our battles against tyranny, which have kept freedom and peace safe for generations.
The walls of the monument display striking bronze images that honor the men and women from each war and reveal in frightening reality the number of those who died for us.
Three flags fly over the site the United States, the Arizona State and the POW-MIA. May they ever wave over this solemn spot and tell the story of freedom that we will always remember. May they teach our children about the men and women of valor to whom we owe so much.
We thank all of the town and all the many businesses and individuals who donated their time, money and vision to make this dream a reality.