War Memorial plans need a push


Bruce and Rosie Das are Gold Star parents with a singular mission.

They want to raise money to build a center that honors their son and others who have died in service to their country.

Bruce and Rosie have joined some other Amarillo-area residents on the mission. They seek to raise about $12 million to build an education center at the Texas Panhandle War Memorial, on South Georgia Street next to the Randall County Courthouse Annex.

Is there a more noble mission than to honor those who’ve paid the ultimate price for the freedom we all enjoy?

U.S. Air Force Capt. Eric Das was at the controls of an F-15 fighter jet in Iraq when he was shot down in the early weeks of the Iraq War in 2003. His parents and sister have carried on in the years since, relying heavily on their faith that has given them the strength to share openly their grief.

Now, though, they have joined with others in seeking to expand the memorial’s presentation to include an education center. It will be an interactive place, where children can learn more about the cost of freedom. It’s paid in the lives lost on battlefields around the world as the United States — the world’s most indispensable nation — has answered the call to fight tyranny and oppression.

They’re having a ceremony today at the Panhandle War Memorial.

Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole, himself a Vietnam War combat veteran, will deliver remarks honoring the men whose names are inscribed on the stone tablets that ring the War Memorial.

I ran into Bruce Das a while back. We chatted a bit about the fundraising effort that’s ongoing to build the education center. He said “It’s progressing,” which is kind of a vague response. I trust and certainly hope — he’ll be able eventually to declare the event to be fully funded.

Today is the day we set aside to honor those who died for the rest of us. Let’s also honor the need to ensure that we never forget the sacrifice of those who died in service to the country — and the loved ones who will grieve forever.