Honoring veterans

In August, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Collinsville for the town’s first Veterans Memorial Park. Just three months later, the project’s completion is ready to be celebrated on Veterans Day.

The memorial is a 30-foot-wide circle with a 4-foot-wide circular sidewalk. Surrounding the circle are five vertical stones representing the branches of service, with another stone to honor those who died in service. There is a flag in the center and an area inside the 4-foot sidewalk where brick pavers are etched with the names of servicemen and women.

Veterans Memorial Project Chairman Jimmy Carter said the celebration is given at a particular time to further honor the veterans.

“It is going to be at 11 a.m. on Saturday,” Carter said. “The reason for the 11/11/11 is because of the Armistice of WWI where Veterans Day came from.”

Carter said everyone is invited to the celebration, including past and current servicemen and women. “We’re going to have a full program,” Carter said. “We’ll have music and speakers, and we’re going to have a couple of WWII veterans raise [the memorial] flag for the first time.”

Carter said, even though Veterans Day is a few days away, the brick pavers will remain available for anyone who wishes to purchase one in a veteran’s honor.

“We’ve got approximately 200 bricks installed already with the names of veterans on them,” Carter said. “So we are going to go ahead and do our dedication because it’s completed. We’re excited about it, and the bricks can still be ordered. They are a 4-inch by 8-inch brick with up to three lines of engraving and up to 18 characters per line for $50.”

Carter said the memorial is a small gesture in comparison to the rights the vets fought for.

“We are able to do what we do today in America because of the dedication of the veterans whose names are on these memorials and the ones who are not on the memorials,” he said.

For more information, call 256-393-0000, or email veteransmemorialpark@hotmail.com.

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