Remembering those who gave their all
Veterans Day memorial place along the Duncan Bypass
UNION — The flags, flowers, white crosses and silhouette of a kneeling soldier alongside Duncan Bypass are there for a reason. They are meant as a remembrance of Union County military members who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The annual Veterans Day memorial was assembled Wednesday morning by Allen Owens, I.G. Vanderford and several SCDC inmates. Nearly 200 white crosses are standing, each bearing the name of a Union County military member who died in combat. Among the crosses is a silhouette of a kneeling soldier with the American flag which was cut and painted by Bobby Hall, a member of Buffalo American Legion Post 87.
The display also includes an American flag and a South Carolina flag, as well as flags representing the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Those flags were donated by retired National Guardsman Ronnie Lee.
A pair of combat boots filled with red, white and blue flowers also rests beneath the flags. The boots were left there anonymously one Memorial Day (another annual event during which the memorial is displayed) and have since become part of the custom.
The tradition was started nearly 20 years ago when Vanderford saw a similar memorial in Statesboro, Ga., while visiting for a wedding.
Vanderford asked a Statesboro police officer about the memorial with the intention of creating a similar remembrance in his home county.
“I brought a Statesboro newspaper back to Pete Berry and he agreed to cut the crosses out of wood and print the names of the soldiers on them,” Vanderford said. “Each cross has the name of a soldier from Union County who was killed in action.”
After years of wear and tear from being driven in the ground every Veterans Day and Memorial Day, the crosses were eventually remade out of metal but they still can be seen by anyone driving along Duncan Bypass during both times of year as a salute and remembrance of those brave men and women who have fought and died for this nation.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at email@example.com.