By Reggie Ellis

There wasn't any Fourth of July celebration in Farmersville this past weekend. But there are plenty of people in Farmersville who fought for what it represents.

Completed in 2004 for the 50th anniversary of the Farmersville Memorial Parade, the Farmersville Memorial Wall now stands in the corner of Veterans Memorial Park just south of Walnut Avenue on Farmersville Boulevard. The V-shaped brick wall is centered by a large rock with a brass plaque dedicated to those who died for their country listed under the war in which they fought. The bricks bear the names of brave men and women and their branch and dates of service for those who lived in Farmersville or still live there today.

One of those men is Al Vanderslice who served in the U.S. Army from 1964-1966. Vanderslice and about 19 other veterans and community leaders formed the Farmersville Memorial Wall Committee four years ago in the hopes that they might find enough veterans to fill the wall with names prior to the monument's completion.

"Just as we were finishing up the wall people started coming in every day and adding names to the list," Vanderslice said. "I don't think any of us realized how many veterans are from Farmersville."

Two-hundred bricks later, the names of veterans now line a brick pathway leading to the wall from the parking lot.

"We just put in an order for another 25 bricks for veterans this week," said Vanderslice, who is chairman of the committee.

But like many veterans organizations, the committee has dwindled from 20 to five core members. And like many committee members, 63-year-old Vanderslice isn't getting any younger. In order to continue adding to the monument Farmersville Veterans Wall committee is asking for people to donate money to cover the cost of the bricks that are provided free of charge to veterans from Farmersville. Vanderslice said there may be many more in the coming years as wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to affect more and more service men and women.

If you would like to be supporter, you may purchase a brick to be laid on the entry of the wall's pathway for $20. Veterans and veterans organizations from other communities may also purchase bricks for $20, and there is never a limit on one-time donations.

"We would like to add a cannon, tank or helicopter to add to the monument," Vanderslice said. "But all of that takes money, and we sure aren't getting any from the state."

Anyone who would like to donate, purchase a brick or get involved in the Farmersville Veterans Wall committee should call chairman Al Vanderslice at 747-0655. Forms may be picked up at his shop, Speed Frame Engineering, at 174 E. Front St. in Farmersville. Those interested may also call Don Mason at 747-0223.

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