Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez was the guest speaker the annual Pearl Harbor and 9/11 remembrance ceremony, Dec. 7. He retold the stories of the two honored days and stated that more than 300 law enforcement officers were killed during the Sept. 11 attacks.
Dominguez recalled an instance not too long ago while he was eating lunch at a local restaurant with one of his staff members. A gentleman extended his hand to Dominguez and thanked him for his services to the city.
The chief said he was humbled by the man’s words, but admitted that he didn’t feel worthy of such gratitude.
“I know I have served the citizens of the city of Mission proudly for the last 28 years,” he said. “However, my father instilled in me the high respect view of all military veterans.”
Dominguez was one of several law enforcement officers and veterans present at the Veterans War Memorial of Texas in McAllen. The cities of McAllen and Mission have continued a long-standing tradition of honoring the service members of WWII and those that died following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The memorial site at 29th and Galveston is home to the American Spire of Honor — a 105-ft, granite monument that is surrounded by memorial walls, statues and United States flags. It’s a dedication to the 1.3 million American service members killed and missing in the nation’s wars and conflicts.
Mission lost 43 troops during WWII. The city sponsored a wall in their honor, which is titled We Remember, with the deceased’s names etched into the charcoal gray granite. Mission also sponsored a wall called Escuadron 201, which is dedicated to the air force squadron from Mexico that was trained in the U.S. and fought alongside the United States in WWII. In addition, the city also sponsored the Spire Pathway of Honor, which is a bricked walkway that circles around the monument.
“It has been a privilege for us to be part of this memorial in honoring and remembering the hundreds of our nation’s sons and daughters that died defending our right to live as free people and raise our children in a free and independent nation,” Mission City Manager Martin Garza said. “We’re very thankful for the city of mcAllen to be able to regionalize this memorial throughout the RGV, which really is the center of patriotism.”
World War II veteran Clyde Eidson has attended every Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony at the Veterans War Memorial in McAllen since they began about 15 years ago. The 93-year-old remembers when the plot was just a field, but he’s slowly seen additions with every year that passes.
Founder Col. Frank Plummer said the last few additions should be finalized in 2016, and Eidson remains hopeful that he’ll still be around when that time comes.
“I don’t know how much longer I can hang on,” he said “But I’m going to hang on here as long as I can.”
Eidson was a U.S. Navy submariner, stationed at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese air strikes occurred Dec. 7 1941. Looking back on that day, his most prominent memory is how fearful he felt at the time.
“Most generally, I was scared,” Eidson said. “They handed me a gun and said ‘Start shooting at those people,’ and we did. All we wanted to do was sink their ships and kill as many of them as we could. It’s a terrible thing, but that’s the way it was.”
During his brief address to the crowd at the ceremony, Eidson looked back on his 30-plus years of military service and encouraged the citizens to “be vigilant.” He commented on the recent shootings in San Bernardino and numerous shootings that have taken place in 2015.
“We are in perilous times right now. Be vigil. If you see something going wrong, report it,” he said. “Without us there wouldn’t be a country, and without a country like this there wouldn’t be any of us.”