SMITHVILLE, Texas (KXAN) - Seven veterans from the Smithville, Texas area have died in recent years in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in a town of 3,900, that number stands out.
Mayor Mark Bunte says his town is small, but has proud roots in all branches of the military. That is why the town will dedicate a war veterans park inside their community.
"We needed a memorial of some type," Bunte said. "Smithville has always been a very patriotic town, we have veterans from all of the wars."
Destiny Russell and her nephew, Jonathan Brown, took a few minutes Tuesday to admire the future sight of the city's tribute to service men and women.
Russell said she's had many friends enlist over the past decade as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan intensified, including one who died.
"I think that it's awesome, that it's supporting them," Russell said as she studied the new park. "That way we don't forget about all the guys that graduate and decide to go over there and fight for us."
Bunte said more than $700,000 has been raised to build the memorial park and has come from hundreds of small contributions.
The accompanying water park was the idea of some military parents, Bunte said.
"They wanted to build a splash park in the back portion of the park, while honoring all of the veterans in the front," he said. "To tell a story that the play of the children in the back was won by the sacrifice of the soldiers and the military personnel from this area."
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Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.
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