Plans Unveiled for Memorial to Honor Veterans Killed in Train Cr - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Plans Unveiled for Memorial to Honor Veterans Killed in Train Crash

Updated:

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - American flags wave in the wind next to four crosses placed in the grass. It's a reminder of the tragedy at a Midland intersection one year ago.

Four veterans lost their lives after a train slammed into their parade float.

The makeshift memorial went up in the days after Nov. 15, 2012, but soon, those lives will be remembered with a permanent memorial.

"It's tumultuous for our community but we've gotten through it and here we are stronger than ever," Midland County Judge, Mike Bradford, said.

On Monday, officials released the designs for Heroes Plaza, a project dedicated to the men who died in the train accident.

"It'll be a learning place, an educational place and a place for people to come and reflect," Gary Vandergriff, with Vandergriff Group Architects, said.

"It's sad that we're commemorating what we are but I think it's appropriate and I think it's something we'll all be proud of," Wes Perry, Mayor of Midland, said.

The memorial has been in the works for months and it's a group effort.

Midland County donated a piece of land near the corner of "A" Street and Scharbauer for the site.

The Show of Support organization is funding the memorial and the folks at Vandergriff Group Architects gave their time and work for the blueprints.

"We spent a lot of quality time with all those involved," Vandergriff said.

"It's a place to come and reflect, pay thanks, reminisce, acknowledge, whatever your choice is," Bradford said.

Architects tell NewsWest 9, they've worked closely to add special touches to the memorial.

A statue to remember the victims will be placed in the middle of the plaza, and with Mother Nature's help, the anniversary will be remembered each year.

"It's calibrated so that the sun horizon meets the hole in the west wall to reflect onto the statue," Bradford said. "It shines a light on a centerpiece statue on 11/15 every year at 4:36 for a soft remembrance that they're still in our hearts and in our minds."

Heroes Plaza will also remember all other veterans for their service and sacrifice. Plaques honoring veterans at the Midland County courthouse will be displayed at the site.

"It's just gonna be a special place for us all to remember not only these folks but all of those that've given their lives so we can be free," Perry said.

The ground breaking for the memorial will be held on Thursday. Officials are hoping the project will be complete by November 2014.