HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - Many neighborhoods will take advantage of the long memorial Day weekend to celebrate with block parties and barbecues, but a small subdivision in Hot Springs started Saturday, May 26, with a patriotic party after realizing how many military connections they had among their neighbors.
“We joke about the post person putting the mail in the wrong slot and that's how we met a lot of our neighbors,” said Frank Warren, a homeowner in Town Square and one of the organizers of the morning gathering. “We want to celebrate the men and the women who answered the call to serve our country.”
So over donuts and bottled water, more than a dozen neighbors came together on Town Square Park near the front of the gated community.
The group had already noticed a pattern in their many events. It seemed like every other house housed a veteran or a family with a connection to the military, so instead of chips and dip, these neighbors exchanged salutes and stories
Organizer Theresa Halverson couldn’t attend while on a trip to the Holy Land, but she laid the groundwork by securing a $250 grant from the financial service provider Thrivent and its community action teams. The money paid for four flagpoles and a flag representing the four branches of the armed forces.
Veterans of each service helped raise each flag, then joined others in the group in placing small American flags in a wreath. Each flag represented a person in their lives who served the country. Most said those names as they placed the flag.
Taps played over a speaker and Dr. Lacy Sellers Jr., a Town Square resident, and pastor at First Presbyterian Church, delivered an invocation.
“May our land remain strong and its people uphold the principles that make us a light to the nations,” Dr. Sellers said.
Warren says it’s likely coincidence that so many veterans live among the homes on the four narrow streets in the neighborhood, but he says the trend continues.
“Just as recently as last week we added a new veteran who had 33 years of service between the Marine Corps and the Navy,” Warren said. “We just wanted to honor every veteran that's living here as well as those who died in service.”