By C.V. Moore
For those looking to spend their Memorial Day weekend taking part in a traditional graveside ceremony, Fayetteville offers two: A candlelight vigil and a groundbreaking for a new veterans’ memorial.
This Sunday marks the second Memorial Day Candlelight Vigil at Huse Memorial Park.
“With all the flags placed all over the cemetery, it’s a patriotic experience. (...) With the candles, we are shining the light to remember our veterans and folks who have passed on,” says event organizer Nancy McKown.
The service beings at 7 p.m. on Sunday at 124 Park Drive in Fayetteville. Some seating will be provided, but attendees are also encouraged to bring a chair.
Last year the event drew about 100 attendees, says McKown. Much of the turnout was due to church involvement. Community pastors lent their words and brought their congregations out to participate in the evening candle-lighting, which is styled after a vesper service.
“It’s something we felt was very beneficial to the community, to all get together and have one big service,” says McKown. “Everyone is just so quiet and peaceful. It’s a time for meditation.”
Pastor Ron George Jr. from Fayetteville Baptist Church will conduct the candlelight vigil. Colors will be presented by the local Boy Scout troop.
A local high school student, Kariana Ramsey, will make a presentation on the Constitution as her brother plays the violin.
Then on Monday, the Lafayette Huse Veterans Memorial Committee will ceremonially begin construction its monument to Fayette County service members.
At 1 p.m. at the entrance to Huse Memorial Park, shovels will break ground as Sen. Bill Laird (D - Fayette) provides the keynote address.
The event program features a photo of Roy Smith, who served in the Legion for many years and passed away in 2012.
The memorial’s design is complete and features granite inscribed with the names of Fayette countians who were killed or missing in action, or who were taken prisoner of war from World War I to the present day.
McKown reports that fundraising is progressing and that the committee hopes to have raised about half of the $80,000 project costs by the end of the ceremony.
The project is an effort by the Huse Memorial Park board, Fayetteville mayor Jim Akers, and the American Legion Post #149 in Fayetteville. Inscribed bricks for $100 each also are being sold to any and all veterans who want to support the cause. Non-veterans can also donate and reserve a brick.
The groundbreaking is the first of five project phases.
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