Friday, August 11, 2017

EDITORIAL >> Monument for Beebe

Beebe could become the first city in Arkansas to erect a monument dedicated to the families of American military service members who died fighting for their country.

The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument will be placed at the Veterans Park Memorial at Dewitt Henry Drive and ASU Boulevard. Gold Star families have lost a loved one in defense of the nation.

The monument will honor the families of 2,356 American military members killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan, where our nation’s battle against Islamic extremism began Oct. 7, 2001, and 4,497 more who were killed in Iraq. At least 20 American service members have died in Syria and Yemen battling the so-called Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

The memorial will also honor the families of the 58,209 Americans killed in Vietnam – 592 were from Arkansas.

The black granite monument will have two sides with a cutout of a saluting soldier. One side will say “Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, a tribute to Gold Star Mothers, Fathers, and Relatives who have sacrificed a Loved One for our Freedom.” The other side has four panels telling the story of Homeland, Family, Patriot and Sacrifice.

Bubba Beason, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant, Army veteran Jeff Marshall and his wife Chelsey and former Beebe VFW Post 7769 commander Ken Adams are leading the project. They have raised $17,000 of the $44,000 needed to build it. If another $27,000 is raised soon, the monument could be installed by Veterans Day.

Beason and Marshall are board members of Arkansas Run for the Fallen and co-own Old Arkansas Alarm in Beebe. Chelsey Marshall is a Gold Star widow who lost her previous husband, Jeff Swindle, in 2012 during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Donations can be made through the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation website,

So far there are only 18 such monuments in the country. Let’s help Beebe become the first in Arkansas to have one. Make a donation today.