PARIS, TX -- What started as a five year project to bring a veterans memorial to Paris, is growing into an ongoing project with new additions every year.
Construction has been underway on the the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial since 2010. Recent additions include newly installed gates displaying Old Glory, a new sign, lights and landscaping, bringing the project to about 50-percent completion.
"For us, they (veterans) are the most important people in the world," said RRVVM architect David Denny. "They deserve to have a memorial of this magnitude and this quality."
The memorial includes pavers featuring veteran's names, family benches and a ring of honor with more continuing to be built.
Founder Doug Weiberg says he came across the idea while visiting his hometown in Minnesota.
"Across the street from where I was raised, they had built a memorial there and I was just awestruck," said Weiberg. "The more I thought about it I figured we needed one here."
Funded completely by donations, the memorial honors veterans from five surrounding counties, inluding Lamar, Fannin, Red River, Delta and Choctaw Counties.
Committee members and volunteers say their motivation for the ongoing project is personal.
"I had five brothers in World War II and I'm honoring them," said RRVVM Committee Member Gene Ray. "Of course they all came home alive, but they fought for their country and we wouldn't have our freedom today if it wasn't for them."
"To see people who appreciate and recognize the sacrifices of others supporting, it's a great thing," said RRVVM Committee Member Glen Gambill. "It makes you proud to be American."
"We want to educate this generation and future generations," said Weiberg. "And show these young people what their families have done for them and what the cost of freedom actually is."
For additional information on the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial and donation information visit: