Michael Craig Ledsome Memorial Playground dedicated on Memorial Day in Brownwood

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
Members of the American Legion Post 196 honor guard carry rifles moments before lining up and firing rifle salutes at the Central Texas Veterans Memorial Monday.

BROWNWOOD — Speaking at a large Memorial Day observance Monday in Brownwood, Larry Mathis borrowed a quote from Abraham Lincoln to describe Micheal Ledsome, a fallen U.S. Marine and graduate of Brownwood High School.

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives,” Mathis said at the Central Texas Veterans Memorial, quoting Lincoln. “But I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”

Mathis continued, “Micheal Craig Ledsome, your place is proud of you. Brownwood is proud of you.”

Ledsome, a 2000 Brownwood High School graduate, joined the Marines in 2005 and was killed in Iraq in 2006.

Larry Mathis speaks at the Central Texas Veterans Memorial Monday.

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 31, 2021, the former Brownwood City Council member and former Brownwood High School theatre teacher spoke of Ledsome’s legacy. The 'Michael Craig Ledsome Memorial Playground' was recently installed on the grounds of the veterans memorial and dedicated at the observance.

Additionally, a plaque in honor of L.D. Cox, one of 317 survivors of the sinking of the Navy cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis, was dedicated. A Japanese submarine sank the Indianapolis after the cruiser delivered components of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. Cox died in 2015 in Early at the age of 88.

Earlier Monday, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3278 and Auxiliary hosted an observance at Eastlawn memorial Park. Retired Navy chaplain Jim Looby honored "the good people who sacrificed everything that we might live in freedom.

A plaque honoring L.D. Cox, one of 317 sailors who survived the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis during World War II, was dedicated at the Central Texas Veterans Memorial.

"We live in very difficult days, and we need to be a very careful people that we do not squander the good that has been handed down to us in the name of expediency or something else,” Looby said. 

Rain continued to hold off as the VFW Post 3278 and Auxiliary, American Legion Post 196 and the Veterans Memorial Board hosted the Central Texas Veterans Memorial observance later Monday.

“We want to pay homage and a salute to those who have given their all,” retired Air Force Brigadier Gen. Dan Locker said. “Unless we make a commitment to honor them by ensuing that freedom continues, their death was in vain. So let’s remember when we go away from this sort of a ceremony, that we take their sacrifice and their remembrance with us and pass it on to the next generation.”

Locker recognized Gold Star families as well as veterans and their families.

A few minutes later, Mathis began speaking of the playground as it was dedicated to Ledsome as well as Mario Castillo, Wesley Burkett and “other great Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.” Castillo and Burkett, both from Brown County, were also killed in Iraq.

A plaque tells the story of Michael Craig Ledsome of Brownwood, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 while serving in the Marines.

“In memory of Craig, a beautiful playground has been erected on this hallowed ground in this memorial park,” Mathis said. “Soon the sounds of laughter of children at play will stir the remembrances of Craig Ledsome for decades to come."

Ledsome’s heroism will be “eternally honored each time this playground is used,” Mathis said.

 “We are forever thankful for all the good memories (Ledsome) gave his family and friends. Let the same be true for every family here today who has lost a loved one in service to country. Emily Potter said ‘heroes never die. They live on forever in the hearts and in the minds of those who would follow in their footsteps.’ Being here makes a difference. This matters.”

As the observance concluded, the VFW Auxiliary presented Patriotic Citizens Awards to business owners Steve Weckworth and Tom Hale for their daily display of American flags.