John V. McMillan Plaza set for Thursday ground blessing

 A. Lee Graham Reporter

Native American music and dance will provide cultural backdrop for this week’s ground blessing of the future John V. McMillan Plaza near downtown. The event, set for 10 a.m. Thursday 6, also will feature plaza renderings, comments from community leaders and a replica of the statue of Major Ripley Allen Arnold, the city’s founder. The public is invited. “We believe that it’s important to honor the Native Americans, who lived here before Major Arnold founded the fort,” said J.D. Granger, executive director of the Trinity River Vision Authority, commenting in a news release. The ground blessing is based on the concept of the Native American medicine wheel or sacred hoop, considered a symbol of peaceful interaction among all living beings on Earth. Performing the ceremony will be Eddie Sandoval, an Apache spiritual leader. More than 175 children from Charles Nash Elementary School and Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center will attend the event. Imagination Celebration of Fort Worth, a local educational organization, will provide transportation for the children and is facilitating their participation. Partnering with Imagination Celebration of Fort Worth for the event are local historians Jack Edmondson, Doug Harman, Bob Holmes and Clara Ruddell. They will provide the students with an in-school program focused on the history of Ripley Arnold and the founding of the fort. Scheduled to open in 2014, John V. McMillan Plaza honors two key figures in Fort Worth history. The plaza’s centerpiece is a 12-foot-tall bronze statue of Major Arnold (1817-1853), who established a post on the Trinity River in 1849 and constructed a fort named after Gen. William J. Worth.