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League City veterans group honors the fallen with Memorial

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League City veterans group honors the fallen with Memorial Day cross field

Drive down Deke Slayton Parkway/FM 518 in League City one can’t help but notice 196 small white crosses on the front lawn in front of Bay Harbour United Methodist Church.

The church, long known for its huge pumpkin patch during the fall turned to a veterans group that meets each week at the church to pay tribute to those who have the ultimate sacrifice for our country for Memorial Day.

The crosses, each handmade by the members of Transitions Plus - veterans group that meets at the church each week - were installed last week and have been up since and will remain through Memorial Day.

Stephen Saltzmann, US Marine retired, was one of the organizers of the commemoration and memorial on the church’s lawn.

“The church has been known for so many years as the pumpkin church because they have such a large pumpkin patch,” Saltzmann said. “They wanted to change that image a bit, so they asked our group since we are military veterans if we would build them and put them up.”

Members of the group took about four hours to construct and paint the crosses, Saltzmann said.

The display is a “gentle reminder” of what Memorial Day is really about said John McCarty, a retired Marine and member of Transitions Plus.

“Hopefully this is a reminder too,” said McCarty. “Memorial Day has gotten to been a 3-day weekend starting the summer we thought this would be a gentle reminder to people as they drove by there’s a little more to it than going to the mall.”

Saltzmann said he hopes the display will expand through the years filling the entire lawn.

For him and other members of Transitions Plus the effort reinforces why they meet up next week.

“This group saved my life, I don’t mind saying that,” said McCarty, who served in the Vietnam War.

Many share their war experiences which include seeing fellow service members killed in action. Many struggle with PTSD.

The group of - “grumpy old veterans getting together and just hashing it out,” - started with 4 attendees about 9 years ago and now has about 40 members.

“It’s a life-changer for a lot of vets,” especially since many have no one else to really talk with about their experiences.

They meet each Thursday at the church. Many of the members have visited the cross memorial - several times for many - remembering those who they served with who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

The display can be visited at the Bay Harbour United Methodist Church at the corner of FM 518/Deke Slayton Parkway and South Shore Blvd.

Upcoming Memorial Day weekend events:

Lone Star Flight Museum
Special events all weekend.
Friday, May 28: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, May 29: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 30: noon – 5 p.m.
Monday, May 31: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 8248 Memorial Day graves decoration event at 7:30 a.m. Saturday (5/29/2021) at cemeteries in Galveston County. Volunteers needed. For information and to sign up, call Frank Furleigh at 409-770-4366 or 409-945-3792.

Vietnam Veterans of America No. 685 annual watchfire Memorial Day program at 6 p.m. Sunday (5/30/2021) with Congressman Randy Weber at Jack Brooks Park in Hitchcock featuring a display of 350 white crosses with custom dog tag for every veteran from Galveston County who died while serving since World War I.

Bay Area Veterans Memorial 9 AM Monday (5/31/2021) “Remember our Fallen” Memorial Day service 1106 Main Street in Seabrook at Bayside Park.

League City Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday (5/31/2021) at Fairview Cemetery at 901 N. Kansas Ave. in League City. Parking available at the fire drill field, 718 N. Kansas Ave.

Galveston Naval Museum Memorial Day ceremony, 100 Seawolf Parkway in Galveston, at 10 AM Monday (5/31/2021) with Congressman Randy Weber. Free admission and parking 9 AM to noon.

City of Friendswood Memorial Day commemoration at Veteran’s Memorial, 910 S. Friendswood Drive, at noon Monday (5/31/2021)

VFW 5400 flag retirement ceremony at 6 PM Monday (5/31/2021) Jack Brooks Park, 5700 FM 2004, in Hitchcock.

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