Time has come for Freedom Park | VailDaily.com

Time has come for Freedom Park

Tom Stone

The genesis of the name and goal of Freedom Park at Berry Creek was a response to Sept. 11, 2001.

A number of us gathered together in the horse arena in Edwards soon after those murderous attacks. We felt that we had to do something to reach out and help to heal the wounds that were so fresh and painful to our nation. We were united with a desire to save our people and our way of life.

After leaving the gathering, I was drawn to search for a more permanent way to honor and remember those who lost their lives in that tragedy. There had to be a symbolic way to share with the future the memory of that event that changed the world. Although it occurred thousands of miles away, we felt as though 9-11 happened to all of us.

Upon further reflection, it occurred to me that we also needed to have a way of remembering our Eagle County friends and family members that work daily to protect us and keep us from harm. We should honor our veterans, police, fire and other emergency service providers who risk and often lose their lives for us.

Homeland security is really hometown security. We have learned that terrorists can and will strike anywhere. I was compelled to search for a lasting memorial that recognized the many freedoms we enjoy and those that help to keep them alive.

One of the values of the technology that brings the world into our living rooms with live time television coverage is perspective. We are blessed to enjoy the ownership of quality homes, while we see others who barely survive in crude mud huts.

Our children, both male and female, all have the opportunity to be educated for free, while we watch intentional discrimination based on sex, religious beliefs and nationality in distant lands.

We often take for granted the ability to have friendly sporting events, while others must compete to simply put food on the table.

This perspective led to the creation of the naming of Freedom Park and a vision for its future.

We have a great start on Freedom Park, but the major feature is still missing. We have completed three multi-purpose playing fields next to quality housing. By summer’s end we will have two softball fields, a children’s playground and a skateboard park. The nearby current and future schools will eventually educate our children from kindergarten through college.

The missing link between the past and the future is a memorial park. Memorial Day would be fitting for ground-breaking with completion by fall of this year.

This should be a community project. Let the Freedom Park Memorial be a legacy for our valley. Let me know how you would like to help.

Tom Stone is an Eagle County commissioner serving his second four-year term. He may be reached at 328-8605 or tom.stone@eaglecounty.us

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