Fayetteville dedicates veterans memorial

More than 300 people joined (from left, front) singer Andrea Caldwell, Fayetteville City Councilman Larry Dell and local VFW member Bill Crawley at the Nov. 9 dedication of the Fayette County Veterans Memorial at Patriot Park in Fayetteville. Photo/Ben Nelms.

It was a solemn occasion Nov. 9 as more than 300 people gathered at Patriot Park in Fayetteville for the dedication of the Fayette County Veterans Memorial. The memorial of polished black granite is a tribute to the soldiers from all wars who were born and raised in Fayette County, and who gave their lives on countless battlefields in service to their country.

The memorial was spearheaded by Fayetteville Councilman Larry Dell. The idea for the memorial began in 2009 as a project of Leadership Fayette. The Fayetteville City Council in February 2010 adopted that plan for the memorial dedicated over the weekend. The memorial is a city project, though there are no funds allocated for it. The total project cost, including in-kind donations, is approximately $100,000.

“Every man and woman who enters the service of this country takes an oath to protect and defend the United States of America. In doing so, they basically sign a blank check. The amount paid on the line of the check reads up to and including their life. And they sign their name on the bottom,” Dell, a Vietnam veteran, told the audience at the Nov. 9 ceremony. “For those of us who have been in battle, after that first shot is fired, training takes over. The only thought going through your mind is the protection of your fellow brothers and sisters and completing the mission. It may seem strange that one’s main thought isn’t his own survival, but that of others.”

The well-attended dedication ceremony included the recognition and thanks to local families whose sons fell in foreign lands.

“What makes this memorial different is that each of these soldiers were born and raised and died as a resident of Fayette County,” said Dell.

Dell during his comments also noted that numerous Americans have yet to recognize veterans, especially those who served in Vietnam.

“The memorial is polished so that, along with seeing the names, you can see yourself,” Dell said. “I hope this addition will be a place to come and reflect. One reason I’m passionate about this project is because two of the names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. were men who took my place.”

The memorial features a polished, black granite obelisk noting the five branches of the service and is flanked on each side with a monument wall, also of polished black granite.

The obelisk rises approximately 10 feet off the ground while the two walls measure 4 feet by 7 feet and are positioned on a 1-foot base.

The left side of one of the walls pays tribute to the 378 Confederate soldiers who died during the War Between the States while the other side lists the names of Fayette residents died in World War I and World War II.

On the second wall, one side lists the names of Fayette residents who died in Korea and Vietnam while the other side lists those who died in Afghanistan and Iraq.