Plans for a Veterans Memorial to be built in Lee Newton Park, on the hill near the Pickens Senior Center. An official groundbreaking is planned in conjunction with Veterans Day ceremonies.
This year’s Veterans Day parade will be one for the history books, to include a very special event organizers have planned in conjunction with the Wednesday, Nov. 11 ceremonies.
The morning’s activities will begin at 10 a.m. with a parade down Main Street in Jasper. Organizers are still accepting applications for parade entries, and encourage walkers, military and other vehicles, wagons and floats and anyone who supports veterans to enter. Entry into the parade is free. Applications can be found on page 20A of this week's paper. They must be received by Friday, Nov. 6.
Also in this week's paper -- Read about one of the area’s most decorated World War II veterans, Page 16A
The parade – organized this year by Pickens veterans groups - will wind down Main Street and end at Lee Newton Park, where the Veterans Day ceremony will take place as well as the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Veterans’ Memorial Park.
“The memorial park is a really big deal,” said Ron Wheeler with American Legion Post #149. “Wayne Poore [with the Marine Corps League] has been working on this for a couple years and it’s finally going to happen for our veterans here.”
The tentative memorial plans feature marble monuments, one for each branch of the military, positioned in a semi-circle around a reflecting pool and walking area. A wall behind the monuments will read, “Dedicated to those Who Served and Will Serve in Defense of Our Country.”
Wheeler said the project will be done in phases as funding becomes available. The memorial will be located on the hill by the fence at Lee Newton Park, near the Pickens County Senior Citizens Center - and while it honors American veterans, Wheeler said it is “definitely a community project.”
“We’re going to have a photo opportunity for people to come out and we want them to wear shirts with their business or organization logo, so we know who is represented,” he said.
The Veterans Day Ceremony – organized this year by the Jasper Lions Club – will be held at the main stage at Lee Newton Park following the parade and will feature the PHS Band, Chorus and the Enharmonics, and keynote speaker Steven L. Arnold, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General who has been inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame.
Arnold served in the United States Army for nearly 35 years, culminating his service as the Commanding General of the Third United States Army and Army Central Command, which included responsibilities in 22 countries stretching from Pakistan back through the Middle East and south to Kenya. Other assignments of note included Chief of Plans and Operations for the Land Forces in Operation Desert Storm and subsequently, the Commanding General of the 10th Mountain Division. His assignments included tours in Vietnam, Korea, Germany, Somalia, and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. He also commanded US Army forces during Hurricane Andrew Relief efforts in south Florida.
For his gallantry in action, Arnold received two Silver Star Medals and two Purple Heart Medals.
Music will begin at approximately 10:30 a.m., with the ceremony to begin at 11 a.m.