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Rendering to reality

Tim Croft
The Star

An artist’s rendering is familiar as the only example of the vision.

But, on the ground, that rendering took a significant spring into life last week at Veterans Memorial Park at Beacon Hill.

Granite monuments and the central pole for an American flag were installed last week after the recent completion of foundational concrete work as an “Honor Walk” becomes far more than a rendering.

Installed now are individual granite monuments for each branch of the military, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, in something of a central pentagon formation.

In the middle of that grouping will sit flag poles, with the 70-foot pole intended for the American flag now in the ground to provide proportion to the scope of the project.

With benches in place the picture that has been with the citizens committee charged with spearheading the project is becoming photo-worthy.

The “Honor Walk” fills an 80-foot-by-140-foot area on the bluff at Veterans Park.

At each point of the monument’s central pentagon, anchored by the American flag, stand the 8-foot-by-3-foot monuments for each military.

“This Honor Walk was conceived, financed and built by the respect that the citizens have for this area,” said George Duren, a member of a committee spearheading the project.

“I am a veteran and my involvement in this project comes from my desire to see that all veterans are recognized and not forgotten, especially those who have sacrificed so much.”

At the north end of the main walking path, 20 feet from the center American flag pole, sits a monument listing the names of all those from Gulf County that paid with their lives in wars since World War II.

At the south end, also 20 feet from center along the main walkway, is a traditional bronze tribute to a soldier who has fallen; carbine barrel into the ground, empty boots beside, helmet atop the rifle’s butt.

And along the spokes of the “Honor Walk” are monuments inscribed with inspiring remarks from George Washington, Harry S Truman and John F. Kennedy focused on military service and the debt owed that “can never be repaid,” as Truman said.

“Joining the military to serve our country and writing a blank check that includes service up to and including giving one’s life so that others can enjoy the freedoms of the United States is an honorable calling,” Duren said.

“This Honor Walk is also here to demonstrate to young people that service to our great country is a high calling and carries with it the respect of our nation.”

At the entrance to the Honor Walk are two more monuments recognizing those who provided financial or in-kind support to the project, which was at such a level that two slabs of granite were required.

But, while the vision is coming into focus, there is more work to be done to complete the $350,000 project.

Memorial brick pavers must still be installed along the walkway.

The flag poles, 50-feet high, for military branches must still be placed and fencing and landscaping come after final site work is completed.

A rotunda-like front for overlooks of the Gulf of Mexico Beach will ultimately have large bronze lettering “Honor Walk” projecting toward U.S. 98.

“This Honor Walk has been created let all who pass this way know that the patriots on this coast of Florida do indeed honor our veterans,” Duren said.

To learn more about fundraising efforts or download an application for a brick paver, visit: