An honor guard raises the flags at the Morgan County Veterans Memorial Sunday afternoon. | Special to the Enquirer: Benjamin Maxwell

Archived Story

A memorial for all

Published 12:32am Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Benjamin Maxwell
Special to the Enquirer

PRICEVILLE – On a day when the nation turns its hearts and thoughts to the veterans who are serving and have served in the military, Priceville and Morgan County unveiled the new Morgan County Veterans Memorial Sunday.

“It’s a county park but it happens to be located in Priceville,” said Priceville Mayor Melvin Duran.

“I think we will have people from all over come out to see this memorial. It is on a first class level with any other memorial in the United States of America. When we took this project on we wanted to make sure it was something every veteran and families of veterans would be proud of.”

The Sunday afternoon service brought out more veterans and families than anyone could have hoped for. In the backdrop of the emotional and patriotic tribute to those serving, those whom had served and their families rested the newly constructed Veterans Memorial Park. The Park is a symbol and a reminder to all of the residents of the county, as well as those who live in the surrounding counties, of all of the men and women who have lay down their lives for the freedom of our nation.

“I had seen the three plaques that were recently put up in the courthouse to honor the three young men who had recently been killed from Morgan County,” State Sen. Arthur Orr said.

“I felt like we needed to do more to honor all of our veterans. After a meeting with the Combined Patriotic Organizations of Morgan County the idea really took fire. Mayor Duran and Tommy Perry from there really took it on and the evidence is what you see here. This monument is a great tribute to our country, our county and most of all our veterans. This park far exceeds anything I had envisioned and kudos to them for doing it.”

The ceremonies included an afternoon parade and a long list of guest speakers such as Vaughn Harwell (Chaplain of American Legion 12th District), Lesley “Boots” Mashburn (WWII Veteran), Pat Volonino (Past Commander American Legion Post 15), Orr, Larry Abercrombie (Chairman Americanism Committee), Angela Wallace (President Blue Star Mothers of Morgan County), Bob Stricklin (Commander American Legion District 12), Colonel R. Brian Williams (Director, Joint Action Control Office, National Guard Bureau) and Duran. The ceremonies, as well as the newly opened park were a genuine statement of the importance of the veterans to the community. The events were concluded with a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps while the flags for the new park were presented.

“The ceremony was absolutely wonderful,” said Larry Abercrombie.

“This crowd was fantastic. I have never seen so many people at a Veterans Day ceremony as we had here today. This ceremony really shows how patriotic the people of Morgan County are, and how much they appreciate the veterans and what the veterans have done. It’s absolutely patriotic. The park is absolutely wonderful. I was able to see it for the first time yesterday and I was just in awe. I hope everyone in Morgan County comes by to visit it.”

The park is a proud centerpiece for the veterans of Morgan County made possible by the Combined Patriotic Organizations of Morgan County, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge #655, Emblem Club #127, Blue Star Mothers of Morgan County, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4190, American Legion Post 15, American Legion Post 310, JROTC of Austin, Brewer and Priceville High schools, Finis J. Self Chapter 2212, Patriot Guard Riders of Alabama and Falkville VFW Post 10774.

“It means a lot to get the kids involved in the community,” said LTC Randy Pestona of Brewer JROTC.

“It is their community and they need to be out and involved in it. For me personally it is always an honor to be recognized and remembered. It was very touching that they dedicated the park to all of the veterans.”

Morgan County Veterans Memorial rests on Highway 67 next to Veterans Park in Priceville. It is now open to the public for viewing.

“My suggestion to people would be to come out here in the morning when it is quite and start reading the names that are on engraved on the memorial,” Duran said. “It will almost break your heart. They paid the ultimate price for all of us.”

Military veterans give a 21-gun salute during the dedication of the Morgan County Veterans Memorial. | Special to the Enquirer: Benjamin Maxwell

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