Murfreesboro War Veterans’ Memorial springs to life

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 28, 2007

MURFREESBORO – It took a community to bring the Murfreesboro War Veterans’ Memorial to life and on Monday that community rallied around to see the finished product.

People of all ages gathered in front of the Murfreesboro Town Hall to see the names of those who served their country set in stone on a 10 foot memorial featuring four wars.

“We must ensure our children and grandchildren are aware (of those who served),” said Veterans Home Program Manager James Woodard with the North Carolina Division of Veterans Affairs.

Woodard, a Conway native, veteran and guest speaker for the War Veterans’ Memorial Dedication Ceremony, said in 1985 three out of five Americans did not know what World War II was.

“That’s just in 1985,” he said. “I’d hate to see the number now.”

Woodard stressed the need to take care of those who have served in the military and the need to pass on their legacy down through the future generations.

The town marked the dedication with song, tribute and ceremony. The North Carolina National Guard of Ahoskie presented the colors.

A flag that flew over the Capital in Washington D.C. was raised above the memorial for the dedication ceremony and later presented to Murfreesboro Mayor Lynn Johnson.

Johnson said the first thing she thought of when she saw the monument was love.

“We need to give more love and we need to love each other,” she said.

Many turned out for the dedication, including several local veterans and current members of the Armed Forces. Representatives from United States Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) and North Carolina Governor Michael Easley’s offices were also in attendance.

“If it had not been for them (in the Armed Services), we probably wouldn’t be here,” Bynum Brown reminded the audience.

Brown, a Murfreesboro War Veterans’ Memorial committee member, said the number of names had grown from 403 reported in February to 502. Brown added that 287 businesses had donated to the memorial.

“I’m so proud,” said the committee’s president, Joe Dickerson, whose 63-year dream is finally reality.

Dickerson, a World War II and D-Day veteran, spearheaded the project along with 13 other men—all military veterans.

Together Dickerson and his 13 allies for six months raised $62,000 in donations for the memorial and designed it as well.

The four tiered Georgian granite memorial features those that served in the Navy, Army, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Gulf wars.

Benches, landscaping and a brick pathway surround the memorial.

William and Rebecca Godwin with the fraternal organization Woodmen of the World came out to see the completed memorial.

“I think it’s great it even got started,” said William.

Rebecca said she was glad to see the memorial finished as well.

“This is a great day for veterans,” said Rebecca. “It’s a tribute to the town as well as the veterans.”

Brown said room is available for additional names for those area veterans who are not listed on the memorial.