AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Geese gave a flyover at the groundbreaking of the new Freedom Memorial in Aurora on Saturday.
Since the Spanish-American War, Colorado has lost thousands of servicemen and women on the battlefield. Now they will be honored with a new memorial.
It’s the beginning of a brand new one-of-its-kind memorial. The Colorado Freedom Memorial honors Coloradans who gave their lives for our freedom.
“No, it’s not easier. Today it’s just as hard as the day I found out,” Sherri Bush, mother of a fallen soldier.
Bush and her daughter were on hand in honor of her son, 19-year-old Andrew Riddel, killed during the Iraq War. She wears his dog tags with his picture around her neck so he’s always close to her heart. Riddel’s name will be one of many etched into the memorial.
A flag marks the spot where the memorial will be built. The names of 6,000 men and women killed in action in wars during Colorado’s history will be etched into the memorial. For family members, it’s a chance to remember their lives.
The memorial was the idea of Rick Crandall. It’s been several years in the making for family members of fallen soldiers like Bush.
“This memorial becomes her grave site. It becomes her place where she can come see his name, sit at a bench in front of it, and at least feel like she is that much closer to him,” Crandall said.
With help from designer Kristofer Kenton, they are pleased to begin construction on the million dollar project. The design is symbolic.
“It was really about that lasting image that some of those falling veterans may have had in their minds as they went off to battle,” Kenton said.
Bush watched with pride among other family members of fallen soldiers. Her daughter wiped back tears as they remember their loved one, now honored forever.
The Colorado Freedom Memorial is expected to be completed and dedicated on May 26. It will be located near the Beck Recreation Center.