Commissioners discussed the possibility of moving the Rhett Butler Memorial to Heritage Park during their meeting on Monday. The issue was also on the City Council’s agenda Monday.
The memorial was built on Rhett Butler Boulevard and dedicated on May 10. The boulevard runs adjacent to America’s Best Value hotel, located between Van Zandt Street and US Highway 67.
Cpl. Butler died July 21, 2007 while serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Butler, 22, was killed near Khan Bani Sa’d, Iraq when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near a vehicle he was traveling in during a routine operation. He was assigned to the Army’s 2nd Squadron, 1st Calvary Regiment, 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Wa. in January 2006 before being deployed to the Middle East.
Butler was a 2003 graduate of Glen Rose High School. He enlisted with the Army on July 29, 2004 and completed basic training at Fort Knox, Ky. Serving as a calvary scout, Cpl. Butler reported to Fort Lewis on June 26, 2005 and was later assigned to the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, also known as the Stryker Brigade Combat Team.
Upon his death, U.S. Army officials promoted the local soldier to corporal from SPC.
While serving in the military, Cpl. Butler received the Army’s Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Service Ribbon, along with the National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Jeff Knowles, who owns the property where the memorial now sits, understands the sensitivity of the situation, but feels Heritage Park may be a more suitable location.
Judge Walter Maynard said Knowles has agreed to pay for the move and hopes the new location will allow for an expanded monument to include names of other fallen Somervell County service men and women.
“We’re going to have to do some planning if we’re going to put all that in the park,” said Commissioner Lloyd Wirt.
Heritage Park has also been at the center of many discussions about the Riverwalk development. The city began construction on a parking lot and preliminary Riverwalk plans included a canoe launch at the park. Plans have also been made to put a restored bridge from Walnut Street to the park.
“We would support this move but we need more details,” Maynard said.
“It shouldn’t cost more than $1,000 to move it and I would pay for that,” Knowles said during the City Council meeting.
The City Council also approved a motion allowing the monument to be moved with the county’s approval.
The commissioner’s agenda also included an action item on Heritage Park, which belongs to the county, becoming part of or connected to the Riverwalk.
“There’s no action to take, but I’d like to start some dialogue,” Maynard said.