RAGLEY, LA (KPLC) - It's the end of a long journey and the beginning of a significant landmark in Southwest Louisiana.
"I think it's very essential to have this park as a reminder that freedom was not always free," said World War II Veteran, Elliot Fontenot.
It's called the Purple Heart Memorial Park, in honor of wounded Veterans.
It has been in the works since 2009 and is finally complete.
Local Veterans said the official dedication ceremony marks an important acknowledgement to Veterans of today and the past.
"A new young breed of Veterans is coming home and they're coming home to honors like the park," said State Commander of the American Legion, James Jackson.
Located in Ragley, the park is a joint venture of the Beauregard Parish Police Jury, Department of Transportation and Development, and the Parish's Recreation District 2.
"Southwest Louisiana is a place that doesn't get involved in a lot of these functions they have for Veterans and the community so I think this is a great asset," said Fontenot.
The ceremony brought the community together in a big show of support.
"For our Veterans coming home we need to make sure we show pride in them and pride in our country," said Jackson.
And there was a sense of pride with flags in the air, dedications, and Purple Heart recipients in attendance.
"We need to take care of those folks, because they're so important to our country and future," said Jackson. "They are our future."
And there was a sense of the Southwest Louisiana community remembering and honoring Veterans right in their backyard.
Purple Heart Memorial Park includes walking trails and a fishing pond.
It's located at the intersection of U.S. 171 and 190, near the Ragley overpass.