Honor Guard Park rededicated during Thursday night ceremony

Published 10:05 am Friday, July 7, 2023

In 1995, Honor Guard Park, located on a small grassy area just northeast of Packer Arena, was dedicated for the first time.

A ceremony Thursday evening revisited that dedication that not only recognized the park’s new and updated look, but also recognized the importance veterans play in being part of Honor Guards as well as veteran sacrifices in general.

“Our men and women laid their lives on the line so we could have freedom in Austin and the rest of the country,” said Rollie Hanson, who was at the original ceremony in 1995 and added, “It’s a fun thing to do for our community.”

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Over the years, between the first dedication and Thursday’s rededication, the park had come to require general maintenance, upkeep and more. The ceremony gave visitors to the event the opportunity to see the fruits of those labors by Spruce Up Austin, which originally transformed the park, Austin Parks, Recreation and Forestry and many other groups that will also be dedicated to continued upkeep going forward.

Beneath a new American flag is upgraded landscaping, benches and patio-type area where people can sit and relax.

Work was largely finished by fall of last year, with many of the plants currently blooming installed at the same time.

“It looks really good,” said Caitlin Olson, president of Spruce Up Austin. “We have future plans to put in more trees. It will be a nice shady spot to be.”

Hanson also said that the park will have a Little Free Library, that he will build so people can sit and read while visiting the park.

The cost of the project was $19,000, however, Mike Ruzek pointed out during that ceremony Thursday that because of in-kind contributions and volunteers, the value of the project is estimated to be around $29,000.

While one of the smallest parks in Austin, in a lot of ways it carries a much larger meaning. 

“As we gather to rededicate this park, let us pray that those who come to this park will contemplate the full price of this park,” Hanson told those gathered Thursday. “Not just the benches and shrubbery, but the fact that blood and tears were shed for the right to build a park and the freedom to sit and enjoy the day and decide what to do next.”

“This park honors those who give the measure of honor to our comrades,” he added.

After the ceremony, Hanson said the work done to the park was important and needed.

“It really is an improvement,” he said. “Everything is tidied up with better landscaping.”