Ret. Col. Stan Tyson says that for him, Memorial Day is a day of memory and a chance to reflect.
“It’s a personal thing, honoring their memory and their achievements,” said Tyson, who served in the U.S. Army.
There are a few in particular he remembers and honors. Among them are his great grandfather, Thomas Stanley Tyson, a chaplain in the Confederate Army under Gen. Patrick Cleburne.
“He was called the chaplain of the Irish regiment,” Tyson said. “My grandfather knew him, but he didn’t ask questions.”
Another is Joe Griswell, with whom he served in Korea. He was from West Virginia.
Bill Lawrence was a year ahead of Tyson in high school and spent six years as a POW in Vietnam.
“He was a pilot and was shot down,” Tyson said. “He went on to be the commandant at Annapolis.”
Ken Alfa fought alongside Tyson in Korea.
“I’ll never forget him. It was my first battle and we went into a situation that was testy, at best,” Tyson said.
Then there are the 17 bricks Tyson had installed at Veterans Park in 2016 to honor the men in the 1st Battalion of the 25th Infantry Division 3rd Brigade who, 50 years earlier, served under his command and paid the ultimate sacrifice in the central highlands of Pleiku, during the Tet Offensive in 1968 in Vietnam.
“They are burned deeply into my memory,” he said. “I had more than 1,000 soldiers. I had loose personal contact, but I know each face. I put the bricks there to keep their memory alive.”
Although Tyson retired from the military in 1976, he continued to serve his country, county and community and remain involved with the military as a teacher and a county commissioner. For 12 years he was the Williamson County veterans service officer. During that time, he, along with Judy Hayes and Nancy Conway, developed Veterans Park, a unique memorial to those who served in the military.
The memorial walkway of bricks inscribed with the names of men and women who served in the military and have died and the Circle of Honor, with the names of men and women who died in service are a reminder of duty, honor and sacrifice.
“The names on those bricks mean something to the people who put them there,” he said. “I share bonds with those I served with and others who were in the military.”