They were, in fact, young men from Kerr County who died in World War I.
Bob Bennett’s book on Kerr County history tells the story like this:
“Guns were fired, whistles were blown and bells were rung. Schools were suspended for the day. The old town fire bell in a tower on the corner now occupied by the Blue Bonnet Hotel played its part in the noisemaking. Men and boys climbed up the tower after breaking the rope used for ringing, and with hammers kept the bell clanging for hours.”
That old fire bell was on a wooden tower on the southern corner of the intersection of Water and Earl Garrett streets, next to the Heritage Star today.
You see, the town didn’t know some very sad news.
The town that had sung and fired shots in the air and laughed and danced in the street now hung down its head and mourned.
It was decided the three fallen heroes would be remembered with streets renamed in their honor. They were not the only Kerr County boys to die in World War I, but they were the ones honored in this way.
|The Kerr County War Memorial. Click to enlarge, to read the names.|
Photo source: shermanandcompany.com
I knew one of the men listed there: Robert (Glen) Chenault, who died in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive. As a high school student, he worked for my parents in our family's print shop. He and my dad spent hours together, and the conversations were often about very deep subjects. At the request of Chenault's parents, it was my dad who actually identified Glen's body, after it was shipped back from the war. I was six when Glen died, but I have fond memories of spending time with him.
That we owe the men listed on the monument a great debt goes without saying. But we also owe their families, sweethearts, and friends a debt, as well.
New names will be added to the monument soon, names of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sadly, more names after those will likely be added as well -- as more young men and young women give up life so the rest of us can enjoy freedom.
Memorial Day is a day to remember them.