Pueblo, CO Is Proud of Its Patriotism
Have you ever eaten an Abraham Lincoln sandwich? A Martin Luther King hoagie? A John F. Kennedy sub?
Paul Jones is a Pueblo native and retired U.S. Navy veteran who got tired of being retired, so he began traveling on vacation back East about 10 years ago. He stopped at several restaurants along the way where sandwiches called heroes were served.
"I wanted to bring the hero sandwich idea back to Pueblo, especially with the city's military tradition and attention to patriotic heroism," Jones says. "So I opened Paul's Great American Heroes sandwich shop in February 2008, and recently added a second location."
The buildings are painted red, white and blue, and have a Medal of Honor insignia painted on the exterior. Numerous military artifacts are featured inside.
"The sandwiches are all named for American heroes, with the Paul Bunyan being the biggest," Jones says. "The restaurants have been a great success. I think many of my customers appreciate the patriotic theme."
Push for Patriotism
A real community push for patriotic recognition in Pueblo began in the late 1990s when Pueblo Chieftain owner and publisher Bob Rawlings proposed an initiative to honor four Pueblo natives who were Medal of Honor recipients. A Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the U.S. government to American troops who distinguish themselves above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against the enemy.
"In 1999, artist David Dirrim was commissioned to sculpt four 8 1/2-foot-tall bronze statues depicting our four Medal of Honor recipients, and the unveilings occurred in 2001 in the Heroes Plaza in front of Pueblo Convention Center," says Paulette Stuart, board secretary for the Pueblo Home of Heroes Association.
The four honorees are William J. Crawford (Army), Drew D. Dix (Army), Carl L. Fitter (Marines) and Raymond G. "Jerry" Murphy (Marines).
"We invited all 147 Medal of Honor recipients from throughout the United States to attend the 2001 unveiling, and 97 were able to be here," Stuart says. "Today in Pueblo, we have many veterans organizations and would like them to help bring more military events and conventions to Pueblo. We are close to Fort Carson, Air Force Academy, Peterson Field and many attractions for visitors in Pueblo itself."
Bridge of Names
"Veterans Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that opened in November 2010 to honor Pueblo armed services personnel by having their names engraved on this impressive structure," says Lynn Clark, development director for the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo. "The bridge spans the Arkansas River in our downtown area and is illuminated at night, and it has 6,000 names engraved that honor Pueblo military veterans from the Civil War up to the present."
Clark says every time she is downtown and looks at the bridge, she sees people walking along the expanse and examining the engraved names.
"It honors all branches of services, from retired veterans to active duty, and is especially nice because multiple veterans from the same families are grouped together, so their names are easier to find," she says. "And we have 800 spaces remaining on the bridge to engrave the names of Pueblo military heroes who will be protecting America in the future."
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