Cedar Park City Council members got some support Thursday night for their decision to turn down a Vietnam War statue because it didn’t include a woman.
The encouragement during the citizens comments part of the meeting came from an eight-year Navy veteran, the commander of the local Veteran’s of Foreign Wars post and a mother who said children in Cedar Park “deserve to see us honor both fathers and mothers."
“Women who have served our country deserve our recognition and respect. They deserve to have their sacrifice and dedication and determination commemorated,” said Melissa Glaze.
Glaze said her family includes men and women veterans dating back to World War I.
“As the mother of a young girl, it’s important for my daughter to see women honored in public spaces,” she said. “As a descendent of service men and women, it’s also important to me for this to happen.”
A man who said he was a Navy veteran said he was “mindblown” when he heard the council had considered a Vietnam statue that omitted women.
“I can’t imagine any of you telling these women that their service didn’t matter, that they should not be included,” the man said.
The council overturned a recommendation from the Parks, Arts and Community Enrichment (PACE) committee to accept the all-male statue design.
“I fully support women to be on the statue,” he said.
Many of the 320 members of VFW Post No. 10427 asked Commander Dave Walden to express their displeasure with the initial statue design. The post represents Cedar Park, Leander and Liberty Hill.
“When we put in this monument, lets include our sisters,” said Walden, an Army veteran. “Not only do the veterans in the Leander VFW support adding a woman to this memorial, we think it would be a travesty not to.”
The PACE committee spent several months looking at options for a Vietnam War statue to join World War I and World War II monuments in Veterans Memorial Park. The committee was divided about including a female soldier on the statue with some saying they would be out of place in combat settings. A statue drawing by artist Matt Glenn showing two male soldiers was finally recommended for council approval.
Council members Ann Duffy, a Navy veteran, and Heather Jefts lead a 6-0 vote to reject the recommendation. The PACE committee will consider their options for the statue again at a March 12 meeting.