MASON CITY, Iowa - Central Park is the centerpiece of the downtown area, with an extensive memorial to the men and women who have so bravely fought for our freedoms. A new statue was unveiled on Memorial Day to honor our veterans.
"I was attributing this to my father and his dedication and so I was just thinking of the sacrifices that he's made in his life for the military," said Dr. Mark Mulkey, who spearheaded the effort to get the statue placed in Central Park. He wanted to honor the family and friends who served in uniform.
"All the freedoms that we enjoy in this country were fought for. They didn't come free. Someone paid the price for that and we have to recognize the people that paid the price and stood up for us," he said.
The statue was designed by two South Dakota artists. It depicts a Vietnam veteran who has lost his leg in combat. He is saluting an American flag as it goes by in a parade.
Larry Paul with Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 790 tells me tributes like these were hard to come by years ago.
"After the war when people got home, the veterans got home, they learned just to be very quiet about being a Vietnam veteran, because they weren't very well accepted," said Paul.
Paul served in Vietnam and Desert Storm. He says shortly after the first Gulf War, the country began to rally around those who so bravely served.
"The country was totally reunited in 1990 with the war in the desert and everything turned around."