KILLEEN — The vision and passion behind the “Price of Liberty” monument is that the price of freedom and liberty cannot be summed up by a monetary figure. When a soldier deploys, the entire family is affected, and those left behind fight a battle at home to fill a void their missing soldier leaves, while the soldier defends the great nation we live in. Whether the soldier returns or not, the entire family unit is forever changed.

A replica of the “Price of Liberty” monument was unveiled Saturday at H-E-B on Stan Schlueter in Killeen, to kick off Military Appreciation Day. H-E-B presented the Texas War Memorial Foundation a check for $50,000 to help fund the monument that will be installed on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol on December 2, 2017.

Retired Army Col. James Stryker, of Tomball, Texas, was touched after an experience at a deployment.

Stryker said a child shouted after her mother, ‘Not again mommy, not again!’ In addition, after attending funerals and presenting folded flags to loved ones with the words, ‘On behalf of a grateful nation…’ he felt something needed to be done to honor the families of service members.

Stryker said after serving in the Vietnam War, he visited a monument and it helped him close the door and move on with life. Stryker said it is very difficult to move on and he wanted this monument to be one that honors what the families go through.

The monument depicts a service member and family that is departing due to deployment. After December 2, it will be located on 2nd and San Jacinto in Austin. Stryker said it is the only monument on the state capitol’s grounds that is fully funded by donors.

The ceremony featured the 1st Cavalry’s Rock Band, presentation of colors by the Audie Murphy Club of Ft. Hood and speakers, Stryker and retired Army Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch.

Lynch has assisted H-E- B with their program, Operation Appreciation. “They are so caring, so compassionate and they are concerned about our Texas military families,” Lynch said Saturday at the event.

Since the inception of the program, H-E- B has hired more than 4,479 veterans and service members, mailed care packages during the holidays and they continue to partner with the community to serve veterans.

Lynch said in the years after the installation of the monument, families passing by will have the chance to pause and reflect on the true price of freedom that is seen in the eyes of the families.

To view the Living Memorial and to learn more, visit www.texaswarmemorial.com.

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