The 13th Annual Tribute to Orange County Veterans will be held at 6 p.m., Sunday, May 29, at the Heritage Veterans Memorial Plaza in Orange. The event will feature keynote speaker Lt. General Marvin Brailsford (Retired) of the United States Army. The event is open to the public and free of charge. Photo by Tommy Mann Jr.

By Tommy Mann Jr. – The Record

An annual paying tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice will be held this weekend in Orange.

The 13th Annual Tribute to Orange County Veterans will be held beginning at 6 p.m., Sunday, May 29, at the Heritage Veterans Memorial Plaza, which is located at 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange. The plaza is located adjacent to Orange First Church of the Nazarene and the event is free and open to the public.

The yearly event is one of the best attended events in the region and is open to the public, all veterans and to those who currently serve in the various branches of the United States military.

Serving as the keynote speaker for this year’s Memorial Day program will be Lt. General Marvin Brailsford (Retired).

Brailsford, 77, is a native of Burkeville, Texas, and a 1959 military graduate of Prairie A&M University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

Brailsford began his Ordnance career in 1974 when he assumed command of the 101st Ordnance Battalion, the 60th Ordnance Group, VII Corps, U.S. Army Europe.

He became the Deputy Commander of Kaiserslautern Army Depot in 1976, and, in 1978, served at the U.S. Army Armament Research and Development Command in Dover, N.J.

Among other important duties, General Brailsford assumed command of the 60th Ordnance Group, 21st Support Command with operations in England, the Benelux countries and Germany. He has also executed the fielding of major items such as Copperhead and M16A2 Rifles, planned and coordinated on-site Soviet inspections in support of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces mission and much more.

In Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Brailsford provided expert guidance and direction in support of the largest and swiftest strategic movement of munitions ever conducted, according to the website. He retired from active duty in 1992 following 33 years of military service.

Since retiring, Brailsford has served as president of Metters Industries, which is an Information Technology and System Engineering Company. He founded his own company, The Brailsford Group, Inc., a management consulting company, in 1995.

He is also a retired director of two publicly traded companies, Illinois Tool Works, Inc., which is a Fortune 200 company, and Conn’s Inc.

Patriotic music will be performed by the Community Band of Southeast Texas during Sunday’s ceremony. Also participating in the event will be the Southeast Texas Color Guard and the Patriot Riders Motorcycle Group, and the Vietnam Mobile Museum will be on display.

The Heritage Veterans Memorial Plaza is home to the life size bronze sculpture “Tears of a Grateful Heart,” which was created by Colorado-based artist Scott Stearman and contains the names of many military personnel from Orange County.

The Heritage Veterans Memorial Plaza also features the bell of the ship known as the USS Dyson (DD-572), a Fletcher-class destroyer which was built in Orange during World War II and named in honor of Rear Admiral Charles W. Dyson who died in 1930. The ship was launched in April of 1942.

Complimentary hot dogs and apple pie will be served following the programs on Sunday.

For those interested in adding the name of a veteran in granite at the plaza, the cost is $40. Messages may be added in brick for $100. Call 409-883-4674 for more information on these services.