The community of Lakeway, under the leadership of the ad hoc Standing Military Committee (SMC) ¹, intends to extend recognition to local WWII veterans for the upcoming 75th Anniversary of the end of WWII. If you're a WWII veteran in Lakeway or know of someone who is, we ask that you please reach out to us. Next year will be the 75th anniversary. Those specific dates to be recalled are VE-Day (May), VJ-Day (August) and the formal signing of the peace treaty in Tokyo Bay (September). The 2020 Fourth of July celebration theme will also be dedicated to WWII veterans, as it was in 1995, and we are looking to honor those heroes who served.
In June 1995, three-war Navy veteran, Lakeway historian and author of Lakeway-The First Twenty-Five Years, Byron Varner, launched a campaign with the Lakeway Historical Society to raise at least $40,000 for a monument to honor current and former Lakeway wartime veterans. In July 1995, Arts League President George Blume planned a $30,000 event, paid for by ticket sales for a Fourth of July celebration with the theme Victory-50 Years Later-Remembering the Price of Freedom. Included were a P-38 flyover, music by the Austin Symphony Orchestra, fireworks and lots of food and games for a crowd of 3000. ² Sadly, Varner and Blume have passed away.
In November, 1995, the Lakeway Historical Society dedicated its Spirit of Freedom Monument, consisting of a five-sided granite obelisk with the names of 512 past and present Lakeway residents who had served in World War II. Private donations paid for the $50,000 memorial. ² The names of seven (7) veterans who were POWs and seven (7) veterans who served in the military of allied armed forces other than the United States are engraved on the monument, as is the name of former Astronaut Alan Shepard. It is notable that in 2015, the names engraved on the monument had increased to 554, while no less than 120 WWII veterans had passed away during that same period.
While Lakeway Heritage Center holds records of those WWII veterans whose names are engraved on the monument, it is possible some have relocated, and others sadly have passed away. As such the SMC is reaching out to the local community to confirm and update the status of these heroes. It is expected that they are very likely 95-years-old or more; one is known for sure to be 104-years-old, as he attended the Memorial Day event this past May.
We are asking that anyone with information regarding WWII veterans please share it by contacting the Lakeway Heritage Center by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If the veteran’s name is not on the monument, then verification of military service will be requested. Some may live in an assisted living facility; as such, all efforts will be put in affect to ensure he or she can attend our events.