EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A monument to honor the El Paso soldiers who fought in World War II will soon be built in Cleveland Square Park in Downtown El Paso.
It will honor the brave men of Company E, the only Mexican-American infantry unit that fought in the war. The group was composed of 250 soldiers from across Texas, including 124 from El Paso.
“This was a true event of heroism as a part of these young kids that came from Bowie, Cathedral, maybe one El Paso High another group and some were even from Mexico,” said El Paso Sculptor Julio Sanchez De Alba.
Sanchez De Alba says he is trying to capture the bravery of these men, as depicted in a model showing what the monument will look like.
“This guy is helping his buddy, he’s pulling him out of the river, he’s trying to take cover because they are under fire and he’s telling them we have to go to Bastogne,” said De Alba.
Many were killed in a battle against German Forces in January of 1944. The battle is considered one of the greatest military mistakes of the war, but the men fought regardless of the circumstances.
“They had to cross the river with full gear, mochilas, ammunition and whatever they could carry to fight the enemy,” said De Alba.
Currently, there is a smaller monument in Delta Park that was made by De Alba in 2008.
El Paso City Council unanimously approved the use of $415,000 from the Museums an Cultural Affairs’ Department Public Art Program to pay for the monument back in May.
De Alba says the men deserve something that will catch the community’s attention.
“A tiny monument, that does not reflect what they went through that night. So to me, the only way is to make it something that creates an impact,” said De Alba.
He says the goal is to teach generations of El Pasoans about the brave El Pasoan Soldiers of Company E.
“Talk about the history and this is going to be embedded in bronze. It’s going to be forever, for our kids, for our young generations to come. To learn the patriotism, the sacrifice that we made for our freedom,” said De Alba.
The community is invited to discuss the Men of Company E Companion Memorial by attending a public meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 29 at the El Paso Museum of History.