POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. – Veterans, active duty and military families are paying tribute to the lives lost in the War on Terrorism.
College of the Ozarks dedicated its Global War on Terrorism memorial today. It pays tribute to people who have, will and are serving in the military now.
“Americans have always courageously answered the call to serve, fight and die to preserve our country as the greatest nation in the world,” Missouri Governor Mike Parson said.
The memorial features a soldier on one knee and his dog “Ace,” cast in bronze.
The dedication included speeches from Governor Mike Parson, Fox News’ Pete Hegseth and General Terrence Dake.
“Repaying our veterans for the sacrifices made is something we’ll never achieve,” said Parson. “But as Missourians, we can pay tribute by honoring their courage and our commitment to our country.”
Justin McGee, a special operations warrant officer, left College of the Ozarks after the attack on 9/11 to serve in the military. He was honored at the dedication and says it’s important to remember the lives lost while fighting terrorism.
“What this memorial is, is it really brings together the history of the Global War on Terrorism since 9/11,” McGee said. “For me…it’s really about the men and women we’ve lost. They’re really the true heroes here. I’ve been able to come back and see my family but really our Gold Star Families, those people that paid the ultimate sacrifice, that the United States has been able to continue on into the future and that’s really what I see here at the memorial.”
McGee also says it’s a reminder that freedom isn’t free.
“We have to remember that our freedom comes at a cost and it’s important,” said McGee. “If we fail to remember that, that leaves dark days in the future.”
James Hatch, a retired special warfare operator also says the dedication was emotional.
“I was shocked at how it affected me,” said Hatch. “The emotions of it, it’s pretty amazing and very thoughtful.”
College of the Ozarks paid for the memorial and it’s the final installation at its Patriots Park.