The city of El Dorado has a very long and proud history of supporting our veterans both locally and nationally.
World War II Memorial (Washington D.C.)
They are often referred to as “The Greatest Generation”. With one purpose in mind they marched off to war and to countless factories as Rosie the Riveters, all to save the World. And save the World they did! In the end they left us with a free country, the greatest in the history of mankind. In order to honor the soldiers and civilians that made this possible the World War II Memorial in Washington D. C. was constructed. Construction started in September, 2001 and was officially established on April 29, 2004. You might be surprised to know that a few very dedicated people in El Dorado, Kansas played a large role in making this happen.
Butler County Freedom Memorial
The Butler County Freedom Memorial—celebrating freedom nationwide—is dedicated to the men and women of Butler County, Kansas who have served to advance the freedom of our great nation. Located on the front lawn of the historic Butler County Court House, 205 West Central, El Dorado, KS, the memorial’s focal point on the east lawn—a large bronze eagle—is balanced with the Statue of Liberty, on the west lawn.
Connecting these two centers of interest are memorial sidewalks comprised of granite panels upon which are engraved the names of persons honored. More than 900 names are engraved on the Eagle side; more than 500 on the Statue of Liberty side. Both walkways are lined with black granite benches purchased by and honoring military veterans and organizations.
The walkways converge at the centerpoint which displays a flagpole, dedicated by the VFW to veterans who “valorously defended the flag it bears,” and a Signers’ Panel located just beneath the flagpole. This panel contains the names of the 56 Americans who signed the Declaration of Independence, and in addition, George Washington—the Father of our Country; Patrick Henry—the Voice of Freedom; and George Mason—the Pen of Freedom. The area bears the inscription: OUR FREEDOM BEGAN WHEN IN 1776 THESE COURAGEOUS MEN SIGNED THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
How it All Started:
Like freedom itself, Butler County’s Celebration of Freedom Memorial was not free. Citizens and businesses of Butler County as well as former citizens now residing all over the country responded vigorously and generously to the campaign for funds.
The movement actually began in 1999 over coffee between State Representative Bill Mason and World War II Veteran Howard Cool. “Honoring veterans and promoting patriotism had been going through my head for some time,” says Mason, who retired in 2004 after serving Butler County citizens in the State Legislature for 12 years. “I wanted to run the thought of ‘a memorial’ by a veteran, someone who had a strong love of our nation.” Cool latched on to the idea with enthusiasm: “I’ll make the first contribution,” he said.
“One of 8 Wonders of Butler County”
Click the following link to read more about this very impressive memorial:
Celebration of Freedom
The “Celebration of Freedom” started in 1999 in El Dorado, Kansas as a local event by Bill Mason (Our State Representative at the time). A committee was formed with the idea of having an annual event every year in November to help honor those veterans who have fought for us, died for us and given us the right to be free!
It has now grown into a week long event that includes a Veteran Themed Parade, medals are awarded, various individual veterans are formally recognized, a history essay contest by school children, a hot dog feed in Gordy Park for the community attended by over 1,000 people, etc.