Constitution Park rededicated at new site
May 24, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Constitution Park here contains the hallowed soil from sites of the famous Army battles: Little Big Horn, Mont.; Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and Normandy, France. The park's 13 field artillery unit memorials honor its fallen Soldiers, as well as Soldiers from the III Corps, which used to be at Fort Sill.
The memorials from the park as well as some of the trees and soil were moved to a new location next to the Field Artillery Museum in April 2011. Constitution Park was rededicated May 18 as part of the ceremonies during the Fires Seminar.
"It's just as meaningful the second time, as it was the first time," said Jerry Granahan, 66, referring to the rededication. Granahan, of Mount Vernon, Washington state, was at the first dedication of the 8th Battalion, 4th Field Artillery memorial Aug. 11, 2006 at Constitution Park. He was one of about 20 veterans from the 8-4th FA, who attended the rededication.
In his invocation, Chaplain (Capt.) Brian Hall, 168th Brigade Support Battalion, said: "Gracious God ... we are grateful that the name of this park reminds us of our nation's founding, the principles for which we stand and the blessings of liberty you have bestowed upon us. As we look out on the monuments of the park, we see symbols of many lives that were given to ensure that liberty and other gifts given to us by you were so valiantly protected."
Speaker Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general, asked the veterans in the audience to stand and announce their units.
McDonald said the monuments are a memorial to those all who answered the call to duty.
"These memorials, they stand and represent a somber and enduring reminder of the costs of those opportunities. The price that hundreds of thousands have paid for the liberties our nation holds so dear," he said.
"On behalf of the Fires Center of Excellence, a heart-felt thanks to all of our veterans here, and all of those who serve and all of those family members, who support them," McDonald said. "The location may have changed, but the message remains the same you will not be forgotten, nor will your selfless service."
McDonald told the veterans not to be strangers to Fort Sill.
"Those of us in uniform are just the caretakers of this post. It's your installation, so come visit us anytime, we truly want you to come often," he said.
Then McDonald and Command Sgt. Maj. Dwight Morrisey, FCoE and Fort Sill CSM, unveiled the sign to the new park.
Constitution Park, which was dedicated Sept. 17, 1987 was moved for a couple reasons, said Frank Siltman, Fort Sill director of museums.
The old Constitution Park was just off Sheridan Road. It didn't get a lot of traffic and many people didn't realize it was there, he said.
In 2008, garrison leaders were looking for a spot for a new shoppette. The park was an ideal location and because there were plans for a new Field Artillery Museum, the Constitution Park could be co-located with the museum, Siltman said.
It's also near the Interstate making it more accesible, he said. Veterans groups agreed.
With the move some monuments that were scattered around the post were also placed in the new park.
When visitors arrive they can go to the FA Museum, Constitution Park, FA Park, Air Defense Artillery Park and future ADA Museum, he said.
"It will all be part of a single complex that will get more attention," Siltman said.