HISTORY OF THE CAMP FANNIN VETERANS
MEMORIAL AND MEMORIAL STATUE
The effort to create a permanent memorial in which to honor the men and women who had trained at Camp Fannin , Texas during World War II began in earnest in May 1993, the 50′” anniversary of the arrival of the first trainees. The original concept was to create a Museum and a significant number of donations were received . In 1997 the CFA Board of Directors decided that the creation of a museum was not financially or organizationally practical for the Association.
Following this realization the dream of constructing a permanent Living memorial to honor all Camp Fannin trainees was born. At the 1998 Annual Meeting the CFA members approved the concept of creating a ” living memorial ” and appointed a small committee to oversee the project. The first action taken to create the memorial began with the mapping and marking of training sites, including permanent granite markers for every training regiment and battalion location on the original Camp Fannin site. In addition , U.S. Highway 271, from Loop 323 to the city of Gladewater was designated as the ” Camp Fannin Memorial Highway”.
Over the next several years the effort to design and fund an appropriate memorial evolved. Plans were made and approved to place the memorial on the grounds of The University of Texas Health Center at Tyler. This was a logical choice because the Camp Fannin Station Hospital had been located on the same site during WWII.
After the 1946 closure of Camp Fannin , th e U.S. Govern ment deed ed the 1, 000- bed Station Hospita l, six hundred plus acres of land and all the improvements thereon to the State of Texas. The only provison was that the facility be used as a tuberculosis treatment center for twenty -five years. In 1949 . the Texas Department of Health opened the facility as the East Texas Tuberculosis Sanitarium to serve TB patients from throughout the state. Today, UTHCT is world renowned for its pulmonary disease
treatment and biomedical research. It also provides a full range of medical services to residents of East Texas as well as specialized training for medical residents.
In 1998, with the support of the UTHCT. The University of Texas Board of Regents granted approval for the construction of a permanent memorial to be funded by CFA. The initial concept for the memorial was based on input from the Camp Fannin ve terans themselves. The plan soon evolved from one honoring onl y Camp Fannin veterans to a memorial recognizing all veterans who had served during WWII. This enhanced the uniqueness of the monument as it is one of a very few national memorials designed and constructed that recognizes all five branches of service that were active in WWII.
The formal approval of the plans enabled CFA to begin the fund raising effort in earnest. The first donations to the memorial included t he transfer of funds from the museum fund and the Camp Fannin Ladies Auxiliary. Charitable donations were solicited
from CFA members, friends, corporations and foundations and by early 2003 sufficient funding was received to construct the plaza area.
On April 5, 2003. sixty years after the opening of Camp Fannin , the plaza was dedicated . The dedication ceremony was held as a function of the annual Camp Fannin Association reunion. At the ceremony, a pledge was made to continue seeking funds for the
memorial statue and to provide an endowment for the permanent upkeep of the memorial. During t he April 2004 reunion CFA presented The University of Texas Health Center at Tyler with a check to fund the initial endowment.
The me morial site consists of a sixty-foot diameter circular plaza . Engraved on the plaza area is a large star. A f ive-foot granite marker has been emplaced at each point of the star. These are inscribed with the emblem of one of the five services that existed
during WW II; the U. S. Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. Outside of the circular plaza are two large granite w lls and two flagpoles. At the center of the plaza is a life size statue of a Camp Fannin trainee in the uniform worn during training.
On April 2 , 2005 , the life-sized bronze statue was dedicated. Texas artist Garland Weeks of Lubbock. Texas sculpted the statue. Weeks, an Army veteran and son of a WWII veteran was meticulous in every detail to assure the historical accuracy of the statue. Using actual World War II Arm y issue equipment and clothing, boots. spats, M- 1 rifle, helmet and ammo belt, Weeks has captured the essence of a young trainee. The statue was cast by House Bronze of Lubbock and was placed on a reinforced star shaped granite
pedestal. The pedestal was specifically designed by the sculptor and constructed for the memorial by Starr Memorials of Tyl er and Stonwurks of Clay City, Kansas.
The April dedication ceremony was attended by local, state and national elected officials, members of the military (active and retired). donors to the memorial and members and friends of the Camp Fannin Association . The unveiling of the statue and the formal presentation of the completed memorial to The University of Texas Health Center at Tyler was a highLight of the
program. It was an especially memorable day for the Camp Fannin veterans, who as a part of the “greatest generation” gave so much to preserve our nation’s freedom at the time of its greatest peril.
The living memorial will serve as a continued remembrance to all veterans who served during WWII. The Camp Fannin Association members and CFA Ladies Auxiliary are grateful for the wonderful support and encouragement they received to make the Camp Fannin Veterans Memorial a reality. November 11 , 2005.
Tax-deductible donations to support the memorial may be made to: Camp Fannin Veterans
Memorial , P. 0. Box 132024 , Tyler, TX 75713.