WESLACO, Texas (KVEO) — The families of Weslaco’s fallen soldiers are joining forces with the city for a new project honoring their lives.
Tower of Honor Board Member Marie Cruz lost her father in the Vietnam war when she was just one month old.
“I didn’t get to know my father at all, just stories here and there I would hear — what kind of a man he was, how he would give his shirt off his back to help you,” she said.
These memories have helped her feel connected to him. Now she’s helping lead the charge to honor his and other fallen soldiers’ lives through the Tower of Honor.
“It’s all about recognizing our fallen heroes and just giving them the recognition they so well deserve,” Cruz said.
She and other families who’ve lost a loved one in service are working together to track down images of Weslaco’s 49 fallen soldiers to be displayed on the city’s water tower.
“It stands tall over the city of Weslaco,” Weslaco District 3 Commissioner JP Rodriguez said. “In my opinion, I think it represents resiliency and community. There’s no other better location than to honor these soldiers with images on the water tower.”
Rodriguez has a family history of military service and said this project is long overdue.
“We have to remember without their service and sacrifice, we wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today,” he said. “That’s something we can never forget.”
While the purpose is to keep their memories alive, he’s also hopeful it will unite the community.
“In these times where everybody is so divided, I think this is something that can really bring us together,” he said.
For Cruz, though she’s gotten to know her father through accounts from family and friends, to be working on this project and to one day see her father beaming on the tower fills her with pride.
“It just gives you this sense of emotion that some little piece of him is being honored— his memory, who he was,” she said. “It just feels amazing.”
More than 20 of the 49 images are still missing. Cruz and other Tower of Honor board members are asking the community to help locate the remaining individuals by reaching out through their Facebook page “Help Us Find Weslaco’s 49.”