By Kendall McGee | June 21, 2020 at 2:16 PM EDT – Updated June 21 at 8:14 PM
WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) -Work continues on Columbus County’s Veteran’s Memorial Park of America.
The nonprofit was founded in 2013 to build a park to honor America’s veterans. In 2015, the group purchased 15.5 acres of land off of Highway 701. In the past several years, organizers have installed flags, secured five monuments and laid out final plans for memorials, walking trails and even a museum.
As construction equipment stands waiting to begin grading the land and pouring concrete, leaders have set their sights on growing their wall of honor. The group has collected more than 700 photos of men and women who have served their country and they hope to gather 1,000 by July 4, 2020.
Right now, the images are laid out on wooden boards that travel to festivals and fairs to be displayed as a “Wall of Honor,” but Veterans Memorial Park of America treasurer Angela Norris says the images will eventually hang in the park’s museum in what will be the “Hall of Honor.”
Norris says she wants veterans across the entire community to feel loved and remembered for their service.
“We need to teach our children the sacrifices these men and women went through so we could have our freedoms,” said Norris. “Its humbling to know they were willing to lay down their lives for me.”
The photos the group has already gathered reflect the lives of men and women who served in all branches of the military and live across the nation. Some images are old, some are new. Some of the veterans pictured are still active members of the community while others lost their lives in the line of duty.
Norris says she gets emotional sometimes looking at the hundreds of photographs.
“Oh I tear up… we have Amy Sinkler on our wall that was killed in Afghanistan who was from Columbus County and we keep honoring her. My brother had several that were killed with him and we want to keep their memory. We have a family of ten on here on the board, a father and his sons and every one of them served at each branch of the services. So they all have their own unique stories,” added Norris.
If you’d like to help the group accomplish their goal you can email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them in to Veterans Memorial Park of America INC at PO Box 2046, Whiteville NC 28472.
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