Medellin Memorial Plaza pays tribute to life, service and sacrifice
Outside the science wing at Boswell High School stands a quiet, reverent circle of remembrance that has endured in the EMS ISD community for nearly two decades.
Within that circle are the names of 99 former EMS ISD students, staff, and school board members, etched into a stone wall on a plaza named in tribute to Marine corporal and Boswell graduate Marty Medellin.
The USMC Marty Medellin Memorial Plaza honors Cpl. Medellin and all the EMS ISD military personnel who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country, whether in military service or in emergency fire or police duty. The Memorial also honors students and staff members who have died while attending or employed in the district, as well as EMS ISD Board of Education members who have passed while serving on the board.
“The Medellin Memorial is a powerful celebration of life and sacrifice,” said Dr. Jim F. Chadwell, Superintendent. “It connects us to our past and to those who made an impact in our district and community, and stands as a beacon of hope for our future. Every name memorialized on that wall has a story and I am honored that our district has such a special way to honor their memories.”
Visible to all who drive past on Bailey-Boswell Road, the Memorial features three pathways and a center obelisk, all designed with significant meaning to represent Medellin’s life and his courage. Each summer, names of any students, staff, trustees and military alumni who have passed during the school year are added to the Memorial wall for permanent remembrance.
The Memorial Plaza was dedicated on Veterans Day, November 11, 2004, with a ceremony featuring special remarks and performances of several student groups. Veterans from across the community were invited to a reception prior to the ceremony. Medellin’s family members, along with Boswell students who committed to joining the military after graduation that year, participated in the ribbon cutting to officially open the Plaza.
Donations from local businesses and community members helped fund the Plaza. It is maintained by district personnel as a symbol of the honor and service reflected by those in the EMS ISD community.
Steven G. Newcom, president of the EMS ISD Board of Trustees, said he is proud and honored to have such an important memorial in our district and community.
“EMS ISD has a long and rich history of growth and progress, but the heart of this community has always been the people – those who have gone before us, those here now, and those who will be our future,” he said. “Our district has always recognized the contributions and sacrifices of its people, and the Memorial Plaza will continue to stand as a symbolic tribute to Corporal Medellin and all those represented on the Memorial wall for generations to come.”
View a list of names etched on the memorial.Each element of Memorial Plaza designed with significance
Every element that stands in the USMC Marty Medellin Memorial Plaza has specific meaning.
Designed in a circular pattern, the Plaza is flanked by two stone walls. One wall bears the name of the memorial on the front and a tribute to Corporal Medellin on the back, and a second wall houses the names of students, staff and board members who passed while a member of EMS ISD, and district alumni representing military, police and fire personnel who passed in the line of duty.
The Plaza took its circular shape from the globe in the US Marine Corps emblem featuring an eagle, globe and anchor. The globe symbolizes Medellin’s worldwide impact as a Marine and the circle signifies a continuous memory of his life and courage, and our community’s everlasting respect for his sacrifice.
Within the circle are three paths. One path serves as the formal approach to the Plaza and is where most individuals who come to pay their respects can enter. The remaining two paths are key elements that drove the design of the entire memorial. One path points to the National Marine Headquarters in Quantico, Va., and represents Medellin’s heart of service, while the other path signifies his courage in his journey to Iraq. These paths were prominent milestones in Cpl. Medellin’s life.
At the intersection of these two paths stands a 14-foot-tall obelisk that serves as a testament to Medellin’s unwavering devotion to his family and his country. Scribed with the words “Semper Fidelis,” its location at the heart of the circle stands as a tribute to his courageous fight for our freedom, and its height above all over elements in the Plaza allows for individuals to look to the sky as they pay their respects to those memorialized there.
The Memorial Plaza is located in a grassy courtyard in front of the Science wing at Boswell High School, facing Bailey Boswell Road. Wreaths are placed in the Plaza annually on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Veterans Day, and an annual tribute ceremony is being planned for fall 2021.