(Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 22, 2020) Blue does not have to indicate sadness.
In Arlington it means inspiration and appreciation.
Beginning April 15, the DREAM sculpture in Downtown Arlington has been lighted blue in support of all of the essential workers during this unprecedented time of battling the coronavirus.
And, just a few dozen feet away, 45 American flags have been placed in the lawn of the Levitt Pavilion, representing American pride. The display, titled “The Spirit Lives,” represents veterans’ support of those fighting on the front lines against the virus.
“Those front-line people working the night shift, they’re pretty lonely. Driving by this might lift their spirits and remind them they’re appreciated,” said Paul Fulks, a Navy veteran and member of the Levitt Pavilion Board of Directors.
Fulks is also the owner of 3Di Sign+Design, the company that lit up the sculpture, donating all the materials and labor in support of the effort, after the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation reached out.
“I was watching on TV and people were lighting up buildings and such, and I immediately thought of our sign. Then, I contacted Paul right away,” Downtown Arlington President and CEO Maggie Campbell said. “It’s been sort of a serendipitous coming together.”
Fulks and his fellow members of the Greater Arlington Chamber Veterans Council, including President Clete McAlister, then decided the flags would be a great addition in the honor. With collaboration from fellow board members, they decided to place them in the shape of a cross, with the title “The Spirit Lives.”
“I served with heroes so I recognize them when I see them. The first responders and medical personnel working on our behalf now qualify and should be recognized for being the heroes they are,” McAlister said.
Fulks said the flag display is a reminder of those who fought hard for the many freedoms and liberties society sometimes takes for granted. He added that another flag display is planned soon near the site of the upcoming National Medal of Honor Museum titled “Be the Hope.”
He has also enlisted the talents of two musicians to write songs commemorating the flag displays. Steve Helms of Arlington is writing “The Spirit Lives” and Austin’s Creed Fisher is helming “Be the Hope.”
“Arlington’s police and fire, our medical workers — our DREAM sculpture is to honor them, and remind everyone of our collective sacrifices to save lives during this time,” Campbell said. “Downtown Arlington is so grateful to Paul and his company for their generosity, and for everyone working on our community’s front lines.”
Campbell noted that the lighting also honors folks such as restaurant employees, delivery people and other essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have startup businesses who are donating food. That’s such a great gesture,” she said.
“As mayor of this kind and generous city, I speak for all residents when it comes to thanking the men and women on the front lines helping us defeat COVID-19,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said. “I’m proud to see the Arlington community honor them with this display. It’s who we are.”
Source: reprint of Fort Worth Star-Telegram story by Rick Mauch, April 22, 2020. "The Spirit Lives" photo from the Star-Telegram.
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