BELTON — Soldiers and the command team from the 13th Sustainment Command participated in the Patriot Plaza rededication ceremony Friday and were in for a wonderful surprise upon completion of the event.
Members of the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce presented to the command a giant flag that has flown on the 80-foot flag pole in the center of the plaza for the past two years, since the original dedication on Nov. 9, 2011.
At the beginning of the ceremony, soldiers assisted the Belton Police Department to raise the new flag, replacing the one that was gifted.
As Belton Mayor Jim Covington and Jay Taggart, the Belton chamber military relations chairman, explained, the story of Patriot Plaza goes back more than a decade. Belton wanted to honor veterans, given the city’s close relationship to Fort Hood.
As part of the Central Avenue Street Project, the city built the Patriot Way Brick Walk and Patriot Plaza.
The latter was dedicated during Veterans Day weekend 2011, by the 13th’s previous commander, the late Brig. Gen. Terrence J. Hildner, Covington said. In that ceremony, the command’s color guard raised the giant U.S. flag.
Dedicating the plaza to veterans came naturally to a city that has such close ties with service members at Fort Hood, officials said.
“It is our way as a community to say that we know of your service, we thank you for your service, recognizing what you have done for both you and your family, and have given us the freedoms that we enjoy today as the greatest country in the world,” Taggart said.
Brig. Gen. Clark LeMasters, current commander, commended Belton for being a wonderful partner city to his unit.
“I am extremely proud of the great relationship we have with the city of Belton,” he said. “It is more than just signs on schools, it is friendships and it is personal involvement and it is a relationship that we have established since this command has been at Fort Hood.”
LeMasters concluded his remarks by assuring the audience the Army will keep marching along despite any hardships faced.
“For those of you who have served, thank you for the legacy you left for us, and thank you for establishing the way ahead for us to follow,” he said.