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Memorial for fallen soldier removed for new school construction

<i>KRIS</i><br/>An Operation Desert Storm memorial for Andy Alaniz
An Operation Desert Storm memorial for Andy Alaniz

By Davon Taylor

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    CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (KRIS) — Over three decades ago, four South Texans were killed during Operation Desert Storm. One of them was 20-year-old Andy Alaniz from Corpus Christi.

A tree was planted at Cullen Middle School in honor of his service and sacrifice. A plaque was also a part of that memorial.

Rafaela Sanchez is one of several residents who has aired her frustrations with CCISD after Alaniz’s memorial was removed from outside of the former Cullen Middle School.

“Today’s headache was that they tore down a tree that was planted many years ago in honor of a veteran,” she said.

She said her heart became heavy watching the memorial for Army Specialist Alaniz being taken down.

“(I) don’t know what they did with the plaque. I asked questions but they gave me no answers,” she said. “(I) called CCSID, haven’t gotten any returns. I worry about the family. They flags were surrounded by American Flags because people do come, and they do honor this young man.”

In a statement sent to KRIS 6 News from Corpus Christi Independent School District, they said, “Corpus Christi ISD has utmost respect for our military community and those who serve. We honor Army Spc. Andy Alaniz and the sacrifice he and his family made for our country.”

Sanchez said that she is upset that they took something so valuable and didn’t show any care for it.

“They brought in a bulldozer and just did it,” she said. “That’s all that I could see, and I was really upset at the fact that they flags were on the ground. All the flags were gone also, and I thought, ‘how disrespectful are you to an American flag.”

CCISD said that, “the tree that was removed was done so to ensure proper drainage for the new school as a measure to protect taxpayers investment in this bond-funded project.”

“It’s important,” she said. “He was a veteran. Honor him and they did not do that. What they did this morning was a very, very dishonor.”

There is another memorial outside of the school that residents don’t want removed.

CCISD said at this time there in no plans to remove that memorial.

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