By David Volz
Military veterans and their families in Tamarac now have a Veterans’ Honor Wall.
On Memorial Day Weekend, the City of Tamarac had a special ceremony to dedicate the Veterans’ Honor Wall. The wall includes six panels each with 100 names of military veterans from Tamarac both living and deceased. There are 600 names in total on the Memorial. There are two additional glass panels showing uniformed military personnel.
The Wall represents a two year effort among the City of Tamarac, the Tamarac Parks and Recreation Department, the Tamarac Public Art Committee and the Tamarac Historical Society. It is at Tamarac Veterans’ Memorial Park, 7825 Southgate Boulevard.
“We decided it would be good to have a tribute to veterans in Veterans’ Park,” said Barbara Tarnove, president of the Tamarac Historical Society. “We got the approval to collect names and we were able to collect 600 names of Tamarac residents who had been in the military. We are continuing to collect the names of veterans in Tamarac.”
Tarnove had the opportunity to talk with military veterans and listen to their stories. “We became friends. It was a heartwarming experience. We have created a data base of the names and we want to collect more names,” she said. “We will commission a new panel for every 100 names we get.”
Zachary Knudson, the owner of the Glass Artist in Coral Springs, was the artist who completed the Veterans’ Honor Wall. He considered it a privileged to do this project. “The veterans have put their lives on the line and sacrificed a whole lot. I dedicated it to them. I feel good about this project and I am glad to give back to the community,” he said.
Knudson said he hopes this project will encourage more young people to appreciate and become interested in art. “There are a lot of kids who will walk by this work on their way to school. I hope when they see it they will be inspired to appreciate art,” he said.
He is looking forward to continuing work on the Veterans’ Honor Wall as more names are added. It took about seven months to complete the project. Knudson also completed an aluminum and glass pyramid structure at the ArtWalk in Coral Springs.
The dedication ceremony on Memorial Day was very well attended and many veterans and their families participated. Members of the Tamarac City Commission spoke on the importance of honoring veterans for their service.
Captain A.J. Tolbert, U.S. Air Force retired, was the keynote speaker. He spoke of the challenges of military service and the importance of honoring veterans. Tolbert remembers how military personnel were not treated well during the Vietnam War era. As an ROTC cadet at the University of South Carolina, he remembered students heckling the cadets as they drilled. He emphasized the contribution the military makes in keeping the United States free.
Elise Boston, spokesperson for the City of Tamarac, said she is pleased that the city’s veterans are being honored. “We want to honor those who have served their nation. We will continue adding names,” she said.