FAYETTEVILLE — Through a combined effort by volunteers, the Town of Fayetteville and the county commission, a new memorial stands outside the Fayette County Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Building.
The “hero stone,” bearing the phrase “Land of the Free Because of the Brave,” along with a flying eagle and the logos of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, stands in front of newly erected flag poles representing the five branches of the armed forces.
A ceremony will be held this evening at 7:30 p.m. during which new flags representing the armed forces branches will be raised and the memorial dedicated.
Zenda Vance, Fayetteville town recorder and one of the leaders of the fund drive, said the effort has taken a while, but it will be worth the effort.
“We didn’t know if we were going to have the funds to do all that we needed done with the flag poles,” she said. “I took it to council and asked if the town would pay for the lights and the town council approved paying for them, which was great.
“The new armed forces flags have been purchased by individuals. It’s just a nice thing to do for the veterans. When you go by there and you see that big stone and you see the flags, it touches you.
“Nowadays our older veterans are leaving us and I just think it’s a good gesture and I think the veterans will highly appreciate what we’ve done.”
Guest speaker for the event will be Judge Thomas Ewing and master of ceremonies will be Sharon Cruikshank.
“I think it will be beautiful,” Vance said. Vance’s husband, Charles, is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam era, and she will raise the Navy flag at the ceremony. Her late father, Jackson Carte, also served in the Army during World War II.
Others raising the respective service flags will be Lita Eskew and Denise Scalph, Army; Deputy Sheriff Rachel Stephens, Marine Corps; David Laudig, Air Force; and Milt Dotterwich, Coast Guard.
Fayetteville residents Wyatt and Jack Kappler also will take part in the ceremony. Wyatt Kappler will play several songs on the bagpipes and Jack Kappler will carry the American flag.
Laudig will provide information about the hero stone and Rick Crawford and Eskew will deliver prayers during the ceremony.
Vance is especially excited for everyone to see the memorial after the lights are shining on the flags.
“The lights will have an auto sensor on there and they’ll kick on about dark and they’ll kick off in the morning. It’s going to be beautiful,” she said. “We are real excited about it.”
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