If you went to Paris, isn’t the Eiffel Tower something you would want to see? Of course, so this morning I headed out to see just that.
Notice that big red cowboy hat in top? Well, there’s a story that goes with that. It seems this Texas Eiffel Tower, built by the pipe fitters union, was dedicated in 1993, and billed as the world’s second largest Eiffel Tower. And it was until Paris, Tennessee, erected one slightly taller the same year.
So by 1998, the local people here in Texas put a tilted red cowboy hat on top to make it taller than the tower in Tennessee. Remember that everything seems bigger in Texas! (Just try driving across the state from west to east and you’ll know what I mean.) I got a real kick out of seeing that some starlings were nesting in that great big hat!
At the base of the tower is a state map. If you look really closely, you might be able to make out the engraved Paris name in the northeast corner. So Texas beat out Tennessee, but a year later Los Vegas built an Eiffel Tower along the Strip that is almost ten times taller. Anyway, it was one of those fun Roadside America things to see. I’m afraid I passed on the chance to see a Jesus in cowboy boots grave monument in one of the cemeteries in Paris. I thought that a bit too much for my tastes.
What I didn’t know until I arrived at the tower, was that right next to it the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial is in the process of being built. It’s presently about 40% done.
“This memorial is being built to honor all veterans who have served our country in the past and are currently serving in our military.
This impressive memorial is located in Paris, Texas next to the Eiffel Tower at the Love Civic Center. The memorial’s centerpiece is the Ring of Honor, an elevated ring of granite walls containing the names of all men and women from the five county Red River Valley area who made the ultimate sacrifice in a combat zone while in service to our country. Surrounding the Ring of Honor will be double-sided granite walls etched with information and graphic depictions of each war or conflict beginning with the Texas Revolution up to the present war in Afghanistan, with room for depictions of future conflicts. Leading up to and surrounding the Ring of Honor will be walkways with 1’ x 2’ granite pavers engraved with the names of the men and women who served and were fortunate to return home, or those who are currently serving our country.
The Red River Valley Veterans Memorial will be a place for reflection, remembrance and gratitude. It is our hope that this will also be a place to educate present and future generations of the service made by members of their own family and their community to secure the freedoms we all enjoy. And may it be a reminder that “Freedom Is Not Free.”
Whenever I come upon a veterans memorial, I am compelled to visit it even though it is always a very emotional experience for me. I must walk among these plaques and give thanks to those who have so valiantly served.
As always, there is at least one plaque that reduces me to tears.
I left with a feeling of deep reverence and gratitude…
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy