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Houston Heights World War Two Memorial: Heartfelt Tribute

Updated on April 5, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Houston Heights WWII Memorial
Houston Heights WWII Memorial | Source

Houston Heights WWII Memorial

The Houston Heights WWII Memorial is truly special. Inscribed into a pylon in the center of a beautifully rendered granite monument are the names of the 224 men from the Houston Heights area who sacrificed their lives during World War II on our behalf.

All of the other Houston Heights residents who also served in the U.S. armed forces during those times of WWII have their names inscribed on a semicircle wall around that centerpiece pylon and flagpole. Conrad G. Walton created this granite sculpture in the year 1999.

If one wishes to locate a particular name on this memorial, the nearby Heights Library has an indexed file available.

Alumni from John H. Reagan High School originated the idea of having this WWII Memorial constructed. Today the John H. Reagan High School WWII Memorial Association, in conjunction with the Heights Rotary Club, maintains this site. What a touching tribute to those who served from the “Greatest Generation.”

World War II Memorial located at East 11th St. and Heights Blvd., Houston, Texas 77008
World War II Memorial located at East 11th St. and Heights Blvd., Houston, Texas 77008 | Source

Quote

Inscribed onto one of the walls is the following quote from Father Denis Edward O’Brien, USMC.

“It’s the Soldier

When the country has been in need, it has always been the soldier!

It’s the soldier, not the newspaper, who has given us the freedom of the press.

It’s the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It’s the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It’s the soldier, who salutes the flag, and serves under the flag. It’s the soldier whose coffin is draped with the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.

And it’s the soldier who is called upon to defend our way of life.”

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Houston Heights WWII MemorialHouston Heights WWII Memorial Portion of Houston Heights WWII Memorial Heights WWII Memorial
Houston Heights WWII Memorial
Houston Heights WWII Memorial | Source
Houston Heights WWII Memorial
Houston Heights WWII Memorial | Source
Portion of Houston Heights WWII Memorial
Portion of Houston Heights WWII Memorial | Source
Heights WWII Memorial
Heights WWII Memorial | Source

“Freedom Walk”

There is a “Freedom Walk” around the Houston Heights WWII Memorial with 23 upright posts or bollards. The bollards are there to protect the memorial from being accidentally rammed due to a vehicular accident. This memorial is on the Heights Boulevard esplanade south of East 11th Street. It is right across from what used to function as the Heights Post Office Building. The beautiful Lombard Lamp is across the street on the esplanade.

The bollards are put to good use in that the top of each one tells a story. If one takes the time to read each inscription, one will come away with much more information about many of the battles which occurred in numerous places during the 2nd world war.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Invasion of Okinawa information on a bollardBollards around the memorialWWII Memorial with Benches and Bollards
Invasion of Okinawa information on a bollard
Invasion of Okinawa information on a bollard | Source
Bollards around the memorial
Bollards around the memorial | Source
WWII Memorial with Benches and Bollards
WWII Memorial with Benches and Bollards | Source

Invasions

The Invasion of Okinawa information on one of the bollards is pictured above. Below are listed some of the other invasions that are on bollards with the actual dates.

  • Invasion of North Africa ~ November 8, 1942
  • Okinawa Invasion~ April 1, 1945 – June 21, 1945
  • Invasion of Sicily ~ July 9-10, 1943
  • Southern France Invasion ~ August 15, 1944
  • Italy at Salerno Invasion~ September 9, 1943
  • Invasion of Anzio & Capture of Rome ~ January 22 – June 4, 1944
  • D-Day Invasion of France ~ June 6, 1944

Marines land on Iwo Jima information on a bollard
Marines land on Iwo Jima information on a bollard | Source

Battles

In addition to learning about the Marines landing on Iwo Jima, below is a listing of other conflicts that one can read about on more of those bollards.

  • Battle of the Philippine Sea ~ June 19-20, 1944
  • Leyte Gulf Battle~ October 23-26, 1944
  • Battle of the Bulge ~ December 16, 1944
  • Naval Battle of Midway ~ June 3-6, 1942
  • Battle of the Coral Sea by our Navy ~ May 4-8, 1942
  • Marines land on Guadalcanal ~ August 7, 1942
  • The Aleutian Islands Campaign ~ June 1942 – August 1943

V-E Day information on a bollard
V-E Day information on a bollard | Source

History on Display

Victory in Europe was a celebrated event because it meant the war in that arena had finally ended. Reading the tops of these 23 bollards gives one a brief history lesson. Other things featured include the following:

  • Doolittle’s Raiders Bomb Tokyo ~ April 18, 1942
  • Surrender to Japan at Bataan ~ April 9, 1942
  • The Pearl Harbor Attack ~ December 7, 1941
  • The U.S. Drops Atomic Bombs on Japan ~ August 6 & 9, 1945
  • War in the Air
  • V-J Day ~ September 2, 1945

Also, there is one Medal of Honor recipient. It tells the story of Lt. Raymond L. Knight, who was posthumously awarded the highest decoration any serviceman can earn.

Medal of Honor information regarding Lt. Raymond L. Knight
Medal of Honor information regarding Lt. Raymond L. Knight | Source

Pylon Celebrates Branches of Service

The pylon in the center of this WWII memorial is five-sided with a ball on top representing our world globe. Names of those who lost their lives are featured here under the headings of the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy. The dedication wording is on the fifth side of this monument.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Houston Heights WWII Memorial Houston Heights WWII Memorial Closeup of the topWWII Memorial in the Houston Heights
Houston Heights WWII Memorial
Houston Heights WWII Memorial | Source
Houston Heights WWII Memorial
Houston Heights WWII Memorial | Source
Closeup of the top
Closeup of the top | Source
WWII Memorial in the Houston Heights
WWII Memorial in the Houston Heights | Source

Memorials and Being Thankful

There are other memorials and monuments to our war heroes in the Houston metro area. Some examples are below:

  • In Bear Creek Park is the Harris County War Memorial. Everyone from Harris County who gave their lives while in our armed forces is listed there.
  • At the Fallen Warriors Memorial in northwest Houston, all those from Texas who shed lives in service to our country are named.
  • Our beautiful Houston National Cemetery is where First Lieutenant Raymond L. Knight (featured above on one of those bollards) is buried with honors.
  • The Vietnam War Memorial in Houston’s Chinatown is a touching tribute.

We owe much to the brave men and women who choose to put on the uniform of our armed services. We must never forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice!

My dad and my husband’s dad both were in WWII doing their service in Europe. Both are deceased but would have been pleased to see the many different memorials erected in Houston and across our beautiful country.

If you live in Houston and wish to learn some history of what happened during World War II, be sure to stop by this impressive memorial and plan to spend some time. I highly recommend it!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Liz,

      This particular war memorial does give one a history lesson if people take the time to read what is on top of those bollards. As to the American war cemetery in your country, many U.S. soldiers who lost their lives during WWII are buried overseas. It must have been too monumental an effort to return all of them back home. At least they are buried with their comrades in arms.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi MG Singh,

      That is amazing to me that there are no war memorials except for those of World War I located in India. We seem to have many of them for all wars in the U.S. Perhaps it will be rectified in the future.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 days ago from UK

      It is important that we never forget the sacrifice of so many in World War 2. This looks like a fitting memorial and a history lesson too. We found a visit to the American war cemetery, near Cambridge UK, a few years ago very interesting.

    • emge profile image

      MG Singh 

      3 days ago from Singapore

      As a soldier, I cannot but express my gratitude to you for highlighting this memorial. All soldiers must be honored. In India, there is a memorial to the soldiers who died during World War I but none for World War II. I hope this in one anomaly that will be rectified.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pamela,

      Many of our service people have been trained at various sites in Texas. I agree that it is good to have war memorials widely represented throughout our land so that people always remember that the price of freedom is not free. Thanks!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ruby,

      It is a beautiful memorial. One can learn a lot by reading the tops of those bollards. Heights Boulevard is filled with attractions, including those annual temporary art sculptures. The people living in the Houston Heights have much to enjoy.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 days ago from Sunny Florida

      This is a lovely tribute for WWII. I like the shape of the pylon. The quotes and the men lost being etched into the stone is really nice.

      My husband was watching something to TV a little while ago that showed all the training for WWII that occurred in TX. I have seen the tribute in Washington DC but I think having something in every city is good, especially when the names are on display.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 days ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a beautiful tribute to the WWll service men who gave their live so we could live free. I would love to visit.

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