The New Century Veterans Memorial Committee is making sure veterans in Young County are never forgotten.
One veteran’s memorial monument already exists in Graham, and the committee is close to raising the remaining funds for the extension of the wall to honor past, present, and future veterans.
To some, it may just be names on a wall, but to Vietnam veteran Larry Hamilton, those names mean something more.
“Just being in the service, making that commitment to the country and making the commitment to leave your family and your friends, your children, mother, father, brother, sister, or whatever. That’s a big commitment for a young person to make,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said there’s a large population that don’t understand what life is like for veterans and those serving, and their big commitment is one that Hamilton said deserves to be shown appreciation by all.
“We owe them the recognition that that demands, for them to go to foreign lands and fight on our behalf,” Hamilton said. “We the people are the ones that put them in harms way and it is our responsibility to recognize them for that and that’s what this wall means to me. It’s a way of recognizing the sacrifice that the people made for this country that we live in.”
The original wall honors 5,400 veterans of Young County from the first World War through Vietnam and also includes peacetime.
“The new wall will stand across the sidewalk from this one,” Reta McCallum, New Century Veterans Memorial Committee Chairwoman, said. “And it will look as though it were built at the same time and the capacity on that one will be 2,400 names and the front of the wall will hold about 1,200.”
The New Century Veterans Memorial will include those left out on the first wall and also those currently serving.
“So this will make this entire memorial a living memorial. It will never end. We always honor our veterans and there will not be a stopping point of that,” McCallum said.
“It’s a big deal for us, to be that living monument and that wall is going to long outlive me,” Hamilton said.
And their service and sacrifices will continue to be honored for years to come.
Those eligible for the wall is any veteran or active duty military personnel whose DD214 or an official personnel document shows his or her home address at the time of entry or Home of Record as Young County. This also includes wartime and peacetime veterans.
They’re fundraising goal for the project is $125,000.
A few weeks ago the L.F. and Carla Perry Foundation agreed to a grant challenge, and will match all contributions up to a total of $25,000, in hopes of helping to raise the remaining 30 percent of funds needed by early June.
If you want to donate money, purchase a plaque, or brick, want to submit names of active duty military or veterans who should be named on the wall, call 940-549-1118 or email email@example.com. You can also follow them on their Facebook page @newcenturyveteransmemorial.