Most Danville area residents are familiar with the 170-acre Dan Daniel Memorial Park on River Park Drive and the half-acre Veterans Memorial located to the left of its entrance, but to fully understand the close connection between the park’s namesake and the monument, one needs to travel to Hawaii.

As strange as that sounds, it’s true. In the lobby of the beautiful Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki, Honolulu, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the volcanic crater of Diamond Head, hangs a six-foot oil portrait of the U.S. Congressman from Pittsylvania County, Dan Daniel. During his tenure in Congress (1969-1988), he was instrumental in the development of the Hale Koa Hotel, which means House of the Warrior in Hawaiian. Daniel knew how important it was for military families to have a beautiful place for R & R—rest, recuperation, recreation and relaxation– and despite opposition, the hotel was built. It is owned by the United States Department of Defense and has more than one million guests every year, all of whom are required to be active duty or reserve, retired military, Department of Defense employees or their family members.

If he were alive today, it’s a certainty that Daniel would also enthusiastically support Danville’s Veterans Memorial in Dan Daniel Park. On the Memorial’s 7’x158’ black granite wall are written the names of all local veterans who have served in wars from the American Revolution to present-day conflicts. The central focus of the wall is the engraved slogan Freedom Is Not Free. A circular brick Memorial Walkway with a veteran’s name engraved on each brick enhances the site. Veterans from anywhere, living or dead, qualify for an engraved brick. The center of the circular walkway features the flags of the United States of America, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the flag that pays homage to prisoners of war and those missing in action.

The average citizen can’t show appreciation to veterans the way Congressman Dan Daniel did, but a visit to Danville’s Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day, May 26, and the purchase of a brick to honor or remember a veteran is a good alternative.

• For more information about ordering an engraved brick, call the Community Foundation 434.793.0884 or visit The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region or visit www.danville-va.gov.

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