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Guardsman’s dream becoming reality: Veterans Plaza to open in N. Colo. 
Colorado National Guard Public Affairs 
Veterans PLaza pillar 
The Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado (shown here is the pillar duirng construction) will officially be dedicated Nov. 13, 2011. Click on the photo or here to download a high-resolution image. (Photo provided by Colorado Army National Guard Maj. Diggs Brown)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011

CONTACT:
Army Maj. Diggs Brown
970-980-1080

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (11/10/11) – Colorado Army National Guard Maj. Diggs Brown knows honor and sacrifice.

Brown, a Special Forces Soldier, Afghanistan veteran and former Fort Collins City Council member, realized there wasn’t a park in his town to name or rename in honor of local veterans, so he had another idea: build one.

On Nov. 13, his dream will become reality as the City of Fort Collins, Colo., unveils the Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado. The Plaza is located at Spring Canyon Community Park, 2626 W. Horsetooth Rd., on three acres of land close to the main entrance.

The free, public grand-opening event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. with the unveiling of a street sign in honor of Fort Collins’ native son, Marine Sgt. Nick Walsh, who was killed by sniper fire in Fallujah, Iraq, May 26, 2007.

The $1 million plaza is scheduled to open at 11 a.m. and the official ceremony will run from 1 to 2:15 p.m.

Colorado Adjutant General Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards is scheduled to speak.

And instead of just honoring those in the local area, as originally planned, the plaza is being dedicated to all veterans, past, present – and future.

Dedicated to military service to the nation, any veteran may be listed at the site. There is no fee for this recognition. Only proof of honorable service is required. To nominate and list a veteran, visit the Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado website.

The visionary plaza – unlike any other anywhere in the world – combines paved paths, native rock, shade trees, and a stage for celebrating the liberties and freedoms that have been safeguarded by generations of American service members.

A bronze statue by artist Susan Raymond further conveys the story of generations of sacrifice. The statue depicts a World War II American Soldier with a young boy seated on his shoulder. The soldier’s left arm extends in a sweeping gesture as if showing the boy the promise of the future. The boy smiles as he realizes that his freedoms, his liberties, and small pleasantries like the park are a gift from those who have served and sacrificed for their country.

The Veterans Plaza is easily accessed by a paved path that will lead past two touch-screen interactive computer animated walls. One wall will continually scroll the names of nominated veterans. The other will be educational in nature and will display information regarding veterans, service, and history. Seating for an audience of up to 500 people is built of three rock-capped tiers. More than 80 trees will provide shade and enhance the open space atmosphere of Spring Canyon Community Park.

At the foot of the stage is the Victory Garden, containing soil from more than 100 battlefields, American military cemeteries, and installations from around the world. The collection and addition of soils is an ongoing process that will continue into the future.

Photo opportunities will be available with war re-enactors and more than a dozen restored vintage military vehicles. An F-16 flyover is scheduled, along with flag raising and music. Food will also be available.

For more information about this event or the plaza itself, visit the Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado online and on Facebook.

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11/9/2011