Last weekend, I had the honor of attending the dedication ceremony for the War Dog Monument, “Enduring Valor,” by artist Susan Bahary. To say it was an emotional experience would be an understatement.
The dedication ceremony, held on May 31, was the brainchild of CHPMP Chair Theresa Brandon, a former Marine and animal lover who has been instrumental in preserving the Cedar Hill Pet Cemetery.
From beginning to end, the ceremony was a heartwarming tribute to all the men, women, and canines who have served in the armed forces. The program began with the United States Marine Corp Brass Quintet providing the music during the breakfast hour, as well as bagpiper Don Shannon who performed a somber rendition of Amazing Grace.
The keynote speaker was US Navy Seal and founder of the Warrior Dog Foundation, Mike Ritland, who showed a “60 Minutes” video of how trained military dogs are used in combat. Mr. Ritland not only trains dogs for service in the military, but for private security as well. He spoke about how many lives are saved due to the dogs’ amazing ability to sniff out danger, as well as their fearless nature to complete their task, no matter how dangerous.
The program ended with an amazing demonstration by the Cedar Hill police department of their K9 police dogs showing off their skills in obedience and obstacles, and even included a simulated police chase – where the “suspect” tried to flee on foot and the K9 officer brought him down.
Later in the afternoon, the monument was installed at the pet cemetery, after being escorted by the North Texas Patriot Guard Riders and several police squad cars.
You can support the Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Project by providing monetary support or as a volunteer. For more information on how to help, please visit the CHPMP website at cedarhillpetcemetery.org.