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Matagorda County, Texas
Veteran Memorials

Casualty Pages

Information and photos courtesy of Kenneth L. Thames


In October 1973 a young oak sapling was planted behind the Palacios High School and named the "Freedom Tree". It was planted in memory of Capt. Curtis Dan Miller, USAF, and all POWs & MIAs. Capt. Miller was an alumni of Palacios High School, graduating in 1964, who had been a crewmember of a USAF surveillance and gunship aircraft that was shot down over Laos on March 29, 1972 - it was presumed he had survived the crash and was a POW. The beautiful tree has grown enormously over the past 39 years, and serves as a gathering place for the students today.

A "Welcome Home" oak sapling was planted near the Palacios High School softball field on April 24, 2010 in honor of Major Curtis Dan Miller, USAF who was killed in action on March 29, 1972. He was originally classified as a POW until his remains were found in Laos, at which time he was re-classified as KIA. He was buried with full military honors at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery on March 29, 2010 - 38 years to the day of the crash.

Curtis Daniel Miller




Hawley Cemetery

Michael A. Pierce

On January 1, 1972 a flagpole was donated and erected at the main entrance of Hawley Cemetery, Blessing, Texas in memory of, and in honor of Sp4 Michael Abel Pierce, USA who was Killed in Action in Vietnam on January 1, 1971. The flagpole was donated by his family.




W. L. "Dub" Hamlin

W. L.'s graduating class of 1962 was the last class to graduate from what was then the new Palacios High School building. After renovations, the building is now the East side Annex, and during a class reunion in conjunction with the building's dedication c1985-86, W. L.'s classmates presented Superintendent Bill Reaves a plaque in memory of him. The plaque is currently (2012) permanently and prominently mounted in the foyer of the Fine Arts Building at Palacios High School.



A beautifully rugged bell tower was erected at St. John's Episcopal Church in Palacios by the family of 1LT Kerry Duane Dale, USMC, in his memory and honor. 1LT Dale was killed in an aircraft accident at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina, on July 13, 1988. He was buried with full military honors at Hawley Cemetery, Blessing, Texas. It is unknown when the bell tower was erected, but is believed to have been in the spring of 1989.

Semper Fidelis In Memory of

Kerry Duane Dale

1st Lt. U. S. Marine Corps
Jan. 22, 1962 - July 13, 1988

"...and put out my hand
and touched the face of God."




On March 2, 2009, Texas Independence Day, two oak saplings, donated by Mr. Lamar Evans to the City of Bay City, were planted at the Philip H. Parker VFW Post 2438, Bay City, in memory and in honor of two Matagorda County men who were KIA during Operation Iraqi Freedom. "David's Tree" was planted by his Gold Star Mother, Mrs. June McCormick, in honor of her son CPL David P. McCormick, USA who was KIA on April 28, 2008. "Joshua's Tree" was planted by Gold Star Mother Lois Winfrey*, whose son was KIA in Vietnam, in honor of SGT Joshua A. Ward, USA who was KIA on February 9, 2009. CPL McCormick was buried with full military honors at Roselawn Memorial Park, Van Vleck, Texas. SGT Ward was buried with full military honors at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas. Assisting the Gold Star Mothers in planting the trees were the Mayor of Bay City, Richard Knapik, the ladies of Cradle of Texas, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and gentlemen of Matagorda Chapter No. 35, Sons of the Republic of Texas.
The trees have rooted well, and are growing vigorously, despite the prolonged drought they have lived through.    *Gold Star Mother Mrs. Pattie Ward was unable to attend the tree planting ceremony.

Cpl. David P. McCormick

Sgt. Joshua A. Ward, Sr.

Memorial Tree Planting Photos


Under Construction


Highway markers

Who started erecting them and why?

Last Thursday [April 25, 1987] a Blue Star Memorial Highway marker was erected on west S. H. 35 during a special dedication ceremony. Attending were members of the Flora Luncheon Study Club, Flower Gardeners Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2438, American Legion Post11, Woodmen of the World, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and other distinguished  guests. Special guest was Mrs. Martin Priem, president of District IV Coastal Prairie Council of Texas Garden Clubs, Inc., of which Matagorda County is a part.

What is a Blue Star Memorial Highway marker? In 1944 Garden Clubs in New Jersey beautified six miles of highways. They designed the marker which has one blue star and the wording, "A tribute to the Armed Forces (men and women) that have defended the United States of America or others who will serve to do so." The blue star on the memorial plaque is significant of the blue star of the service flag displayed by families who have a family [member] in the service. The National Council of Garden Clubs approved this project for garden clubs throughout the United States to be used as a "living memorial" in 1945. This was a tribute to veterans returning from World War II and also to beautify the country. These markers are placed about every 75 miles apart and that section of highway is the memorial highway. There are 40,000 miles of memorial highways across the U.S. today. There are 40 blue star markers in Texas today including the one in Bay City.

When Mrs. A. X. Seerden was appointed State Blue Star Highway chairman in 1983, she encouraged her garden club, Flora Luncheon Study Club, to consider placing a marker in the Bay City vicinity. After consideration, the club members agreed to do so. Members of Town and Country Garden Club and Flower Gardeners Club were asked to join the other club (sic) in this project. Then the city council gave the club permission to place the marker and the State Highway Department selected a site for it. The Patriotic Clubs such as VFW Post 2438, American Legion Post 11 and Woodmen of the World joined in this venture. Lamar Evans landscaped the area and former Mayor Glen White helped the groups from the beginning to promote the project. After money-raising projects and much planning, the garden clubs of Bay City assisted by the other organizations that had assisted them to make the project a reality, were able to honor the service veterans men and women (sic) for their service of protection for this country. Joined by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and Daughters of the American Revolution, this was also the first Sesquicentennial (150th birthday of Texas) project for Bay City. The marker is located on west S. H. 35 near the first canal bridge.

Persons who worked hard to get a Blue Star Memorial Highway marker erected in Bay City pose for a picture following dedication ceremonies on Thursday. They are (from left) S. T. Eidson, VFW 2438; Margaret Seerden, blue star highway marker chairman; Mrs. E. M. Huitt, president of the Flora Luncheon Study Club; Mrs. Martin Priem, president of District IV Texas Gardens Clubs, Inc.; Mrs. Voss McCrosky, Town and Country Club; Margie Griffith, former president of the Flora Luncheon Study Club; Allene Heckendorn, president of Flower Gardeners Club; Robert Head, Woodmen of the World; H. D. O'Rear, VFW Post 2438; Clyde McKinney American Legion Post 11; and Vernon Miles, VFW 2438. Also instrumental in the planning of obtaining the marker were members of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and Daughters of the American Revolution.

The Daily Tribune, May 1, 1985

NOTE: Vandals broke the marker from its base sometime in late 2011. The marker was recovered and is currently in storage while efforts are being made to identify who has the capabilities to repair it.

l to r: S. T. Eidson, Bobby Head, Louise McCrosky & Bernice Hellman

l to r: S. T. Eidson & Bobby Head

l to r: unknown, William Barber, Vernon Miles, Clyde McKinney,
unknown, Waddy Cole?


l to r: A. S. Dierlam, Andrew L. Jones, unknown, S. T. Eidson,
H. D. O'Rear, G. P. "Gepe" Hardy, unknown
Photos courtesy of the collection of the Ladies Auxiliary Philip H. Parker VFW Post 2438.


Copyright 2012 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Aug. 11, 2012
Aug. 16, 2012