They deserve it

Published 3:13 am Tuesday, October 7, 2008

By Staff
Looking for a project to support, a project that will have lasting effects on the community?
Look no farther than the proposal to build a memorial to veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to be erected in Veterans Park. Beaufort County veterans’ groups and the City of Washington have decided to erect a fallen-soldier monument at Veterans Park in Washington.
As this newspaper said about two months ago, the project is a worthy one. Something has changed since then. Another Beaufort County son has died in the war against terrorism. That’s one more reason, and reason enough, to complete the project. Sadly, Beaufort County has more than enough reasons to build such a memorial.
The memorial will honor Kevin Jones, Johnathan Kirk, Joel Taylor and Michael Murdock. Jones was a Washington resident and Army soldier killed when a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq in September 2005. Kirk, a Marine from Pamlico Beach, died in May 2007 from wounds received when a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq. Taylor was killed by a roadside bomb in June of this year. Murdock was killed by gunfire on Sept. 11 of this year in Afghanistan.
The memorial also should honor the memory of Air Force Capt. Patrick Brian Olson, a Washington High School and Air Force Academy graduate who died Feb. 27, 1991, when his plane crashed during the Persian Gulf War.
At the very least, they deserve a monument to their memories and their sacrifices in their efforts to preserve freedom around the world. Hopefully, theirs will be the only names to be inscribed on the memorial.
The fallen-soldier memorial, also known as the battlefield cross, will be fitting tribute. On June 30, the Washington City Council allocated $4,400 to purchase a bronze monument. The monument will be unveiled Nov. 11, Veterans Day. A plaque on the monument will be inscribed with these words: “ALL GAVE SOME — SOME GAVE ALL” at the top and “Dedicated to the memory of all who proudly served and protected their country” at the bottom.
Monday night, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners was scheduled to receive a presentation concerning the project. Hopefully, commissioners did more than receive the presentation. This is a project that deserves the county’s support. This is a project that deserves support from each of the county’s municipalities. It is a project that is being supported by the community, as it should be.
In August during a meeting about the memorial, Washington Mayor Judy Meier Jennette said the city had received $900 in gifts and $250 in pledges from veterans’ organizations and $200 in gifts and $500 in pledges from individuals for the monument. Later, she said three more monetary gifts had been received from veterans’ organizations and individuals, gifts presented during the August meeting.
When remembering these war dead, it is time to put aside one’s views concerning the war against terrorism and the Persian Gulf War. The families of these sons of Beaufort County deserve respect and support from the community because their sons earned it.
A fallen-soldier memorial at Veterans Park will not bring them back. Such a memorial will help keep their memories alive and serve as a reminder to generations to come that freedom is not free. It comes with a cost, and part of that cost is in human lives.
A monument to their memories is a start to paying what we owe them, but what we owe them can never be repaid in full.