433 Hay Street
Fayetteville, NC 28301
|NC Veterans Park Opens to Large Crowd||7/7/2011|
About 3,000 people attended the dedication of the N.C. Veterans Park in Fayetteville July 4. Many veterans and their families were on hand to be part of the event. The park is the first state park in the country that honors all military veterans.
Gov. Bev. Perdue and Mayor Tony Chavonne provided remarks before holding a ribbon cutting in front of the park's entrance on Walter Street. The 82nd Airborne Division's All-American Chorus performed in the park's amphitheater.
Veterans Park was made possible by a $13.7 million appropriation from the North Carolina State Legislature.
North Carolina Veterans Park is a hugely significant project to Fayetteville and all of North Carolina, as the park honors veterans, past, present, and future; the park is rare in that respect, because many veterans' memorials and parks only honor those who have been killed in combat.
The park also offers a community park setting. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful venue by relaxing at the amphitheater while reading a book or taking a walk. The benches and beautiful landscaping provide for a peaceful experience.
North Carolina Veterans Park further revitalizes Fayetteville's rejuvenated downtown and provides a proper venue for veterans and their families to heal, reflect, and reunite with and meet other veterans.
Veterans Park incorporates many natural and architectural elements that represent the state. Symbolic features pay homage to the veterans from all 100 counties and represent the citizens who have supported them.
Veterans Park tells the story of a veterans' journey before, during, and after service. The Community Plaza represents "life before service" and features the Oath of Service Wall with 100 bronze castings of veterans' hands, one from each North Carolina county. Another highlight of the Community Plaza is the Community Columns, each adorned with the names of two North Carolina counties and hand castings of four civilians from each county, representing those who have supported veterans.
The Service Plaza represents "life during service." The Patriot Wall includes a moving water wall to depict the action and excitement of a military career. The central part of the Patriot Wall is the Reflection Wall, constructed of reflective stainless steel that mirrors the images of visitors. The Pride and Purpose Tower is a steel and granite tower rising from a pool of water. The tower features special effects lighting and a light cannon to mark special occasions or welcome home troops.
Also important to the park's story are two gathering places that invite visitors to come together and acknowledge veterans. Camaraderie Plaza is an amphitheater that allows the community to welcome home and celebrate veterans. The Community Lawn is a large garden space for casual relaxation and formal ceremonies or planned events.
The artwork of the North Carolina Veterans Park includes two art pieces made by veterans. Seven art pieces constructed from decommissioned military materials are displayed in the Artifacts Gallery. The pieces symbolize commitment, courage, dedication, heroism, sacrifice, service, and honor.
The significance of the North Carolina Veterans Park is addressed in the guiding vision behind the park's design, which states: "From the soils of North Carolina, you left your families and homes with purpose to serve your country. The people of North Carolina honor your service and welcome you home."
Several people in attendance at the July 4 dedication spoke with City staff on why they attended and what they liked about the park. Here are some of their comments:
Devane Brewington, retired Army, served in Vietnam and Desert Storm: “I came to the park to honor the other veterans who are here today. I had several friends that I am honoring today by being here. Although they are not here, I wanted to make sure I came out and supported them.”
Billy Daughtry, Army veteran, served in Vietnam: “I live close by and I am glad the park is here in Fayetteville. I plan on bringing my wife and grandchildren back to see what fellow veterans have done for their country.”
Dallas Harrell, retired Navy, also served 5 years in the Army: “I think the park is wonderful. My hand is one of the castings on the Oath Wall from Sampson County. It will let my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren know that our family did something.”
Paul Martin, Army veteran, Currituck County Commissioner: “I am here today to honor a gentleman from our county, the late Roy Davidson. He was a distinguished veteran of World War II and his family is here today. As an elected official and the only veteran on the county board, I believe it’s my duty to be here for Mr. Davidson. This park is absolutely beautiful.” Davidson’s hand casting in bronze is in the park and he passed away before the park opened. Martin and his wife drove 240 miles to represent Davidson.
Jean Stultz, late husband was retired military and retired civil service: “My husband died two years ago and he would have been very, very proud to see this park completed. I think the park is absolutely wonderful and one of the best things we ever could have done in Fayetteville. It’s going to mean a lot to a lot of people, to a lot of retired soldiers, as well as anyone who’s ever been connected to the military. I think there will be a lot of people who will stop here to come and see the park.”
The North Carolina Veterans Park is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Sunday, from noon until 5 p.m.
The park’s address is 300 Bragg Blvd., Fayetteville, NC and admission is free.
For more information, visit www.ncveteranspark.org. To stay apprised of all that is going on in the All-America City of Fayetteville, “Like” the City of Fayetteville on Facebook and follow the City on Twitter.