EL PASO, Texas -- The only military operations not memorialized at the Old Glory Site in northeast El Paso are the Persian Gulf operations. Soon, granite memorials for Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and the War on Terror will be built on the site. However, the group building the memorials is in need of more funds to complete the project.
The proposed memorial will consist of four seperate granite walls, to represent each of the operations named above. On each wall, images, maps, medals, and explanations will be included to show the important details of each conflict.
"Over 4.7 million service members deployed over the past 30 years," said Randy Carothers, Co-Chair of the Persian Gulf Memorial Committee. Carothers is a veteran himself, and was sent the day before Thanksgiving in 2002 to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"It's important to memorialize these guys because this information is not taught in schools. The kids have no idea what granddad did or what grandma did back in the 90s," he continued to say. "I can bring my grandchildren to the memorial and I can show them what I did, I was here...[and] point to it on a map."
But a memorial like this is not purely for educational purposes- it's for healing too. Veteran Mike Baker was an aircraft mechanic in the Army, but eventually retired from the Airforce.
"Healing, there's a lot of us that need to heal," Baker said. "In the Airforce, aircraft mechanics generally don't get shot at. But our friends do,"...,"and for people like me that have survivor's guilt because I retired in 2001, and right after I retired, nine friends of mine died."
Even after 21 years, Baker found it difficult to talk about his fallen brothers in arms.
"It means a lot to me individually, having lost nine friends, and it's just a healing process. And this is what it is to me,"...,"we can't forget the people that served," he emphasized.
This memorial will be a meaningful and significant reminder of those who have passed on, but for those who have survived the military operations too. Here's what the group needs from you:
"We're about $10,000 short of accomplishing this goal right now, and we really need the support of the community, and the businesses of El Paso to help pull this off," said Carothers. This is the final stretch of fundraising for the group, as the memorial is estimated to cost a total of $50,000.
There are multiple ways you can donate to get the Persian Gulf Memorial built as soon as possible. You can donate in person at the Old Glory Memorial site in the northeast, but if you do, make sure you write "For the Persian Gulf Memorial" on the envelope so they can get the funds. You can go to their Facebook page here to ask them directly how to donate. Or, you can donate directly to the organization through Paypal at Vernon Carothers, Cashapp at $VernonCarothers, or Venmo at @Vernon-Carothers.