Former councilman helps raise park’s first flag a 2nd time

By Joshua Baethge
For the Anna-Melissa Tribune
The re-opening of Johnson Park from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Sept. 14.

The new and improved Johnson Park officially re-opened to the public on Tuesday evening. The event attracted scores of residents as well as a sizable contingent of city leaders. 

It was an especially fun celebration for one local family.  Former city councilman John Beazley helped raise the park’s new flag with his two sons, ten-year-old Braxton, and eight-year-old Gradin.  It was not that first time that the elder Beazley has first to raise the flag at the park.   

Back in the late 1990s, he helped install the Johnson Park’s first flagpole when he was 16.  At the time, his family was heavily involved in the Anna Youth Sports Association.  They helped with an earlier park revitalization that saw lights installed at two ball fields that were used primarily for girls’ softball.  However, when the national anthem was played before games, there was no flag for them to turn to. 

Anna officials say that the renovation to Johnson Park at Sherley Avenue and 1st street should be completed before March.

Beazley identified the need and decided to make installing a flagpole his Eagle Scout service project. His plans made sure it could be easily seen from home plate at both ball fields.  He recruited a group of volunteers and managed to get some supplies donated.  Then it was just a matter of digging a hole, setting the pole and pouring concrete.   

Of course, Anna was a much different place back then. He recalls around that time that the city limits sigh had a population in the 900s.  Subdivisions had yet to spring up and Anna High School still competed in Class 2A.  The city also had no formal process for installing a park flagpole. 

“There were no permits or permanent city staff back then,” he recalled.  “We just kind of put it up.” 

Since leaving the city council, Beazley has stayed busy with this business interests.  He also purchased a ranch in Grayson County where he and his sons enjoy activities like camping, hunting and four-wheel riding—all the things he used to in town when Anna was much smaller.

As for the flag raising ceremony, Beazley knows that a few people may think it’s a neat story about his family’s legacy with the city.  However, he says his boys were probably much more excited about finally getting to play in the renovated park.