Dozens gathered near City Park in Commerce on a chilly Friday night to honor local veterans.
There, they witnessed the official dedication of the new “Waves of Glory” installation across the street from the park. Created by the Commerce Rotary Club, “Waves” has been a big undertaking for the local club.
In October, applications were available for people to nominate a Hunt County veteran to be featured as a part of this project, which consists of 100 full-sized United States flags placed in rows at the corner of Park and Aldridge streets. Each flag carries the name and story of a local veteran. The project was born out of a call to action from Rotary District 5810 Governor Betty Grogan, who challenged each club to find a way to honor the veterans of their community.
According to Jim Ayres, chairman of the local club’s flag program, they received more than the 100 maximum submissions they could accommodate.
At Friday’s opening ceremony, Ayres said that the project has been a success.
“The support we have received is just overwhelming,” Ayres said. “Hunt County cares about its veterans.”
The ceremony, which took place under cover of darkness but was lit up by foglights from a Commerce fire engine, featured a proclamation from Mayor Wyman Williams, who officially proclaimed Nov. 8-16 as an official city observance of the “Waves of Glory” project.
State District 2 Senator Bob Hall attended as well and spoke to the gathered crowd. Hall, who is a five-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, read an anonymous poem in commemoration of the event.
“It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion. It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble. It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote. It is the Veteran, who salutes the flag. It is the Veteran, who serves under the flag, To be buried by the flag, so the protester can burn the flag.”
Hall then presented Teena Ayres and Tribute Printing with flags that flew over the State Capitol Building in recognition of their work on the project.
Commerce Rotary President Amy Welch also thanked the community for their support.
The Rotary Club plans to expand the program next year to as many as 200 flags and to open up submissions for first responders as well.
The “Waves of Glory” installation will remain up until Nov. 16.