Flagler Beach, FL (May 30, 2022) – Flagler Beach City Commission Chairman Ken Bryan announced the official unveiling of the Veterans Park bench project including the installation of bronze engraved placards featuring the names of veterans during the city’s Memorial Day ceremony on Monday.

Air Force veteran and Flagler Beach City Commissioner Ken Bryan unveils the bench project.

“We planned it so we could do it that way,” said Bryan of the Memorial Day launch.

“There’s a lot of significance to the benches. When you come to the park it’s nice to see the monument, but now you can put names and associate them with the monument itself. It pulls it all together.”

Bryan proudly showed his bench, where he and his father are immortalized, as are the grandfather and father-in-law of Flagler Beach Mayor Suzie Johnston, just to name a few.

“Ken has made it so every time I come to Veterans Park I cry now,” joked Johnston.

Flagler Beach Mayor Suzie Johnston dedicated a bench to her grandfather (Edward Lee Bourne, WWII Normandy Invasion) and former father-in-law (US Army Col. Steven A. Adams, Gulf War) both veterans of previous wars, as part of the bench restoration project in Flagler Beach.

“My grandfather, who was in the Army, he stormed the beaches of Normandy, and also on the same bench, I have my late father-in-law. He served in Afghanistan, served in Desert Storm, Desert Shield, and he died in active duty,” she said.

Finding tremendous community volunteer support for the project, including a grant from Home Depot, Bryan is pleased by the success so far.

“We started a program about 6 months ago where you could actually buy a plate to be mounted on one of the benches in the name of a veteran and that’s what we have here today,” said Bryan to those assembled in the park for the Memorial Day ceremony.

Not one to rest on their laurels, the commission is already thinking about the next several improvement projects.

Flagler Beach City Commissioner Ken Bryan, a US Air Force Vietnam era veteran, shares a bench dedication with his father, US Army Sgt. Joseph A. Bryan, a Korean War veteran, as part of the bench revitalization project in Flagler Beach’s Veterans Park, unveiled on Memorial Day 2022.

“The next project is that fountain right there. It’s old and falling apart. I actually have a person that is going to match every dollar that we raise,” he said.

“So we’re going to raise as much money as we can with the assistance of the mayor here, and then that way we’re going to come up with a nice water feature to replace the broken down fountain.”

Johnston is also adding her creative skills to the projects, considering a yearbook of those commemorated in the park and more. A legend has been created already to help visitors find their loved one’s placard and bench, and a potential oral history project capturing the veterans’ stories may be on the horizon.

“I told someone a few minutes ago, we only have about 8 plaque positions and then one of the things the mayor came up with a few weeks ago was why don’t we put some bricks in the area once we run out of benches,” shared Bryan.

“That’s our next project after we do the fountain. We’ll put bricks in the park in the name of veterans,” he said.

Kyle Totten gets a photograph where his grandfather is now commemorated. Photo courtesy Andrea Totten.