Veterans flock to The Colony city hall to see patriotic memorial

A project to honor the military is getting primed to stand tall in front of The Colony city hall.

But first, the memorial will include one last signature from a man with a close connection to the battle of Iwo Jima.

It all started with a man with a metal shop who wanted to do something special to commemorate Independence Day. He had no idea that his tribute would lead to his creation being revered by the city, veterans and a member of Congress.

World War II veteran Don Graves is reliving the moment he watched six fellow U.S. Marines raise the American flag atop Mount Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima.

“I’ll tell you one thought. ‘Oh my goodness. I bet they’re gonna get ticked off about this, the Japanese. And they did!” Graves said. “We put our flag up for the first time on foreign soil.”

The 92-year-old Marine veteran is sharing his unique perspective inside the lobby of The Colony executive building. It’s where the 12-guage steel Iwo Jima tribute memorial, created by resident Tim Hall, will be placed on permanent display.

Hall erected the memorial outside his home to commemorate Independence Day. After FOX 4 first aired the story on July 3, hundreds of people from all over the country flocked to the memorial to sign it.

The mayor, a Marine veteran himself, was so moved by the outpouring of support that he asked Hall to donate the memorial to the city. Others signed it during Monday’s ceremony, including Graves.

U.S Congressman Michael Burgess added another special touch and gave Hall a flag that flew over the capital of the United States.

“To come up with the memorial and to have someone who actually there and saw it raised in person, its full circle,” Hall said. “And I’m very proud to be a small part of this.”

Hall took the memorial back to his metal shop one last time to add a clear coat to seal in all the signatures. It’ll be brought back here for good for the public to admire.

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