Patriots remember and salute those who served

Leslie Landry explains the design planned for the Bouligny Plaza memorial saluting all U.S. veterans. The eagle has one foot holding the flag while the other is ready to defend.

Benny Schovajsa and the Iberia Veterans Association may be a small group of soldiers, but their dedication to the American Way has never wavered. Each year they sponsor several patriotic events throughout the year to encourage Teche Area residents to “never forget” the sacrifices made by men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. Their ceremonies also remember those members who were declared missing in action and prisoners of war. Retired from service, the members as well as other veteran organizations continue to fight on for the flag and for freedom.

Friday, June 14, is Flag Day, first believed to have been celebrated in 1885, but according to USFlag.org, the practice of honoring the flag was begun by a teacher and specifically for school-age children. Flag Day — the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 — was officially established by Proclamation from President Woodrow Wilson May 30, 1916.

While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation, it was not until Aug. 3, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 of each year as National Flag Day. The public is invited to celebrate the US Flag at 6 p.m. Friday, June 14 at Bouligny Plaza in downtown New Iberia.

Attention Veterans, Families and Friends

The IVA has been an advocate for building a permanent memorial for all branches of the service at the Bouligny/ Steamboat Pavilion park. Memorial bricks have been sold, but more money is needed to create a veterans memorial that is handicap accessible. The current location requires veterans and others to climb in and out of a brick pit. Current plans are to fill in the hole by raising the foundation — before any memorial bricks are laid.

Leslie Landry, one of the Iberia Honor Guards who participate in the flag ceremonies at Bouligny Plaza, and a member of several veteran organizations, designed the memorial featuring an eagle holding a U.S. flag and ready to defend it around the world.

To purchase a brick, contribute to the memorial or to assist in the construction of the memorial, call Benny Schovajsa 364-7428 or 344-9397 or Leslie Landry at 367-0308.

Plans are now underway for the annual 4th of July parade and the response has been great this year, said Schovajsa. Anyone interested in participating can call him at the number above.

Respect for property

Whether accidental or on purpose, IVA signs about patriotic events have recently been removed from the gazebo at Bouligny.

“Anyone who has taken two signs of the Iberia Veterans Association from the gazebo at Bouligny plaza, please return them,” said Schovajsa during a phone interview Friday. “Twice they have been stolen.”

Contact Schovajsa at 364-7428 or you can drop them off at the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce office across the street.

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