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“The Price of Liberty” memorial honors veterans and their families

By Bev Barr, BCC Editor

Sandra Van Zandt stands with a model of a monument she built to honor the Texas men and women who have served or are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. “The Price of Liberty” will be installed on the south lawn of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Saturday, Dec. 2.

Approximately 225,000 Texas service members have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 9/11, and more than 600 of those service members have sacrificed their lives on those battlefields. On Saturday, Dec. 2, a new monument, “The Price of Liberty,” will be unveiled on the grounds of the State Capitol in Austin to honor these soldiers and their families.
The 20-foot bronze sculpture depicts a serviceman “in limbo between heaven and heart,” said Sandra Van Zandt, artist of the monument. “His wife and child are earthbound. He’s got one leg on the ground and one foot is lifted, being carried off by an angel.”
“To my knowledge, this is one of the only monuments, that honors both the soldier and the family of the soldier, which was something very important to Col. Stryker,” said Doug Van Zandt, husband of the sculptor.
Retired Army Col. James Stryker first conceived of the memorial and, along with Gen. Joy Stevens, was instrumental in raising the $440,000 to cover the costs of the monument project and seeing the project through to completion. It took two legislative sessions to raise enough capital and to secure the location for a new monument,
“Gen. Joy Stevens and Col. Stryker are two of the most wonderful people you can ever hope to work with in your life,” said Doug Van Zandt.
The Van Zandts encourage and invite interested people to make the trip to Austin for the unveiling event on Saturday, which will include speakers, music and other fanfare appropriate for our Texas heroes, even if the installation is itself “temporary.” The permanent installation is entangled in “some bureaucratic red tape,” according to Doug Van Zandt, but he has every confidence that it will be fixed, it’s just a matter of a little more time.
The Van Zandts, who currently live and work in Oklahoma, are looking forward to the celebratory event on Saturday, and of spending the days that follow in Bandera and Bandera County, as they are seriously considering moving back to this part of the Texas Hill Country.