Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Visit To The Veterans Plaza, Fort Collins, Colorado

In early June I drove to the Veteran’s Plaza. It is located in Spring Canyon Park at the west end of Horsetooth Road in Fort Collins. Turn right into the park from Horsetooth Road and the Veterans Plaza is on your left. It is a pleasant place to sit and enjoy the shade of the giant cottonwood trees and reflect on the many men that this is dedicated to.

Last fall Friday's Council Tree Chapter, NSDAR was contacted to see if we wanted to participate by submitting our military Revolutionary Patriots for the scrolling screen display. We submitted 62 Patriot’s names and rank. We have 115 Patriot’s represented in our chapter, and 62 are military veterans. There are other services considered patriotic service in addition to military, but the Veteran’s Plaza is military only. Of course, these Patriots were never in Northern Colorado, but we, their descendants are, and that is their connection to this area.

I have been waiting for the scrolling screen to be installed, and that was done and dedicated on Memorial Day weekend, so I wanted to see the finished project. It was on the letter “B” when I arrived and the first one I saw was “William Belknap, Lt, 1776-1783”. The screen scrolls thru the alphabet after 30 seconds per screen. Step back about 3 feet and you see the alphabet at the bottom of the screen. Press the letter for your patriot’s last name and a big letter pops up; and then the screen moves to that letter. You might want to visit later than noon, when I was there. The bright sun overhead made the screen a bit hard to see.

Another screen is just beyond the Veteran’s screen. There are several features you can go to on this screen , but I especially enjoyed the “Victory Garden”. It lists the "Victory Garden" soil samples from various military and war sights. Press the screen over a place you are interested in and the display pinpoints in red where that place is on the world map. I pressed “Lexington”, “Bunker Hill”, “Antietam” and “Dachau”. It is fascinating to interact with history here. The soil samples are physically located at the Veterans Plaza in a special place in front of the stage.

It was a thrill to see my patriots names show up as the screen scrolled. The beautiful foothills in the background, the beautiful summer day, the beautiful Veterans Plaza all created a nice experience. I wondered as I sat there what my ancestors would think if they knew they were immortalized in a far off, then unknown, place in America. I think they would be pleased and proud, just as I am of them. Patj

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