A first-of-its-kind monument was unveiled in East Austin Saturday, paying tribute to Texas veterans past and present.
AUSTIN, Texas - A new, first-of-its-kind monument honoring Texas veterans past and present was unveiled in East Austin, just days before Veterans Day. Tiles Mosaic
The monument, designed by Texas artist Rose Toro and made possible by the nonprofit Southwest Key Programs, is a mosaic of glass tiles and took about a year to complete.
"Veterans, this country is what it is because of you," Toro said. "It is the American flag, embracing the veterans, loving the veterans, and loving our armed forces. All branches in the military are represented here."
Navy veteran Victor Garza traveled from California for the unveiling of the monument, which includes his likeness and his Navy ship. "It's gorgeous, it's beautiful. I hope the community will embrace it, just like I do," he said.
The Purple Heart recipient says he's pleased that it reflects the diversity of those who've served. "We're honoring not only those that have left us, but we're honoring all veterans that are here with us," Garza said.
Also featured in the mosaic is Laura Isbell, who died from blood cancer after serving in the Air Force.
"It was from inhaling chemicals that were let loose over there in the Gulf War," her cousin Brian Yow said. "She died, literally seven days before her 39th birthday."
Yow says he was overwhelmed the moment he saw the mural.
"I cried. She's a great girl. She was awesome. Great mom. She has two kids, and the littlest one is here today with us," he said. "Basically I was pretty taken back by the sight of it, and I don't get taken back too often."
Now that the monument is open to the public, Toro urges Central Texans to pay a visit. "It's an opportunity for you to honor veterans, respect them, sit quietly, and think of all the things they do for us," she said.
The monument is located outside the Southwest Key headquarters at 6002 Jain Lane, just of U.S. 183 in East Austin.
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