For the ultimate Taps, few reminders remain beyond the honor, sacrifice and the tools of the feet, hands and head.

"It's a tribute to the soldier, that's all that's left," veteran Dean Welch said after the ceremony dedicating the battlefield cross, also known as the combat cross, at Veterans Park on Monday.

Welch joined scores of veterans, their families and friends, and some of the families of those who died in military service to their country at the western corner of the park at East Yellowstone Highway and First Street.

"We decided we needed to put something like this up to represent our fallen, rather than just a stone monument," said Welch, Post No. 2 Commander of the American Legion in Casper.

The American Legion and other veterans worked for two years to raise the money to buy the statue and obtain the permits from the city, he said.

Lavin Tile donated the granite block for the base, and Casper Monuments did the engraving, he said. A time capsule containing news items and other mementos was put in the base to be opened in 25 years, he added.

The simple statue conveys a powerful story, Welch said.

"The boots represent that he no longer has to march into battle," he said.

"The inverted rifle means he no longer needs a weapon to fight, and he no longer needs the helmet for protection because God is his protection now," Welch said.



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