A monument honoring all veterans in Bexar County was unveiled on June 6, D-Day, on the south side of San Antonio.
The 26-foot tall aluminum monument has five sides and features the official emblems of every military branch and their histories. It will also be lit at night.
Elected county leaders and local veterans turned out for the event at the county offices and library on Pleasanton Road.
County Judge Nelson Wolff and County Commissioner Sergio Rodriguez presented the county’s highest award, the Hidalgo, to local veteran Kenneth Wayne Graham during the unveiling. The Hidalgo is reserved for "a person of Noble descent" or "a Noble man or woman," according to the Bexar County Historical Commission.
Graham has the very rare distinction of serving in all branches of the military, but he said his service in the Coast Guard is among his fondest memories.
“I enjoyed being a rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard, as far as occupation,” he said. “That was probably my favorite job, jumping out of helicopters into big waves.”
Rodriguez says this D-Day is a fitting time to debut the monument.
“We don’t want to forget D-Day. That was probably one of the first and most important national fights that we had, so this is an honor to them,” Rodriguez said. “We don’t want to forget what happened 75 years ago.”
On June 6, 1944, Allied forces landed on the Normandy beaches in northern France to begin a new offensive against Nazi Germany.
The Allies pushed east towards Berlin, while Russian forces marched in from the west. The war in Europe ended in early May 1945.