In Wimberley, Texas, near where my brother lives, is a wonderful outdoor theater where high school students perform Shakespeare under the Stars, and all kinds of concerts and community events are held. There is also a story behind the place -- there would have to be, with a name like The EmilyAnn Theatre. Emily Ann Rolling was a 16-year-old Wimberley High School student in December, 1996, when she was killed in a head-on car collision. That would have been the end of her story, except for her parents, who decided to create a memorial for her so her name would live on. All the money their foundation raised resulted in the theater that the community now gets so much out of. Most cities across the country have stories of remarkable people who make such marks that they become local legends. They aren't usually even known outside the community limits.
But now I know about the Rollings, because I've also become a very small part of the story. When local veterans' organizations were looking for a place for a memorial, the hill at the top of The EmilyAnn Theatre seemed like a logical place, so the vets' celebrations are now a part of the community activities there, too. There is a littlz plaza framed by flagpoles, for the American and Texas flags and for the flags of each of the Armed Services. Radiating out from the center are walks, and the veterans raised money for the project by selling bricks in the walks -- you donate the money, and your name, branch and years of service will be there on that brick for anybody to see.
My brother donated for a brick for the Morris veterans. Our brick is there on the Army walk. It contains the names of our father, my brother Larry and me, my brother's father-in-law and son-in-law, Army men all. Larry's son-in-law, Sgt. David Walden, who is married to his oldest daughter, Shellie, is in Iraq, for his second tour. I'm proud to share the brick and a tiny space of Winberley with him, and look forward to the day when he can see the real thing instead of just a photo.