10 memorials honoring NC military veterans

The Vietnam War Memorial in the Lejeune Memorial Gardens. (Facebook)

(Tribune News Service) – North Carolina has a rich military history that dates back to before statehood.

The State Archives of North Carolina Military Collection’s Veterans Oral History Interview Collection contains more than 1,100 oral history interviews from military veterans living in or out of North Carolina.

North Carolina is also home to an abundance of sites that commemorate the courage and sacrifice of the state’s military veterans.

New Bern National Cemetery

In 1867, the New Bern National Cemetery was laid out north of downtown New Bern, not far from the west bank of the Neuse. The cemetery is the final resting place for Union soldiers who perished in the Battle of New Bern and other skirmishes in the North Carolina coast. 300 US Colored Troops are buried in the national cemetery, as are more than 1,050 unknown soldiers. Today, more than 6,500 people are buried in the 7.7-acre cemetery, which is dotted with numerous private tombstones and four large monuments.

Lejeune Memorial Gardens

A collection of memorials greets visitors outside of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The newest addition, the Montford Point Marine Memorial, honors African American Marines trained in a segregated camp during World War II. Other areas include the country’s second largest Vietnam War Memorial, a beam from the World Trade Center, and a site dedicated to the 1983 Beirut bombing that killed more than 240 soldiers.

North Carolina Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park

This somber memorial features a red brick wall from North Carolina. The center panel on the front of the memorial contains the names of over 1,620 North Carolinians who were killed or missing in Vietnam, while the base of the memorial lists the districts from which the dead came. In addition, a plaque shows the date of inauguration and honors both the fallen and those who served during the war.

Wayne County Veterans Memorial

The Wayne County Veterans Memorial is a living memorial erected in honor of veterans who sacrificed their lives as part of their duty. The site includes a memorial wall, pavilion, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Veterans Memorial, Wayne County Vietnam War Memorial, Wayne County granite map, fountain, and lighted flags. Five bronze plaques recovered from the names of the veterans on the 2004 fire list.

Garner Veterans Memorial

The Garner Veterans Memorial was designed to honor all veterans, especially those who died during conflict and war. Veterans from all branches of service are honored in the memorial’s Walkway of Honor. The proceeds from the sale of the bricks, donated by families and friends of the honorees, helped fund the project. The monument also includes picnic areas, playgrounds, hiking trails, water fountains, and open spaces.

Veterans Freedom Park

Veterans Freedom Park is a 12.6-acre park with a memorial courtyard with official flags, benches, and the estate’s original veterans sculpture. The park is dominated by a 90 meter high white granite spire mounted in Mt. Airy and lined with LED lighting. The five seals from each branch of the military encircle the base of the tower, creating an intimate and welcoming space for reflection.

Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery

Opened in 1993, the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery is already home to more than 5,700 veterans and family members who are buried there. More than 400 people are buried here each year, 80% of whom are veterans, at one of five state veterans’ cemeteries in North Carolina. The state of North Carolina provides a free burial site for every veteran. American flags are placed at each grave and a ceremony is held on Memorial Day Weekend.

Beirut memorial

The Beirut Memorial was a gift from Onslow County’s citizens. It is a solemn homage to the 273 Marines who gave the last full devotion on October 23, 1983 in Lebanon and Grenada. Each man’s name is engraved in granite, along with the words “They came in peace”. Every year on October 23rd, the Beirut Memorial hosts a memorial service for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Korean War Memorial in North Carolina

The Korean War Memorial consists of a central fountain surrounded by four granite pillars. The 3.13 m high pillars are inscribed with the names of the 788 North Carolinians who were killed or listed as missing during the Korean War. In the center of the monument is an eternal fountain in the shape of the Korean Taeguek, part of the South Korean flag. Two life-size statues of American soldiers – one in a Class A uniform and the other in a poncho – are also part of the memorial.

Guilford County Veterans Memorial

The Guilford County Veterans Memorial is a one-acre complex marked by a ring of memorial walls with inscriptions, maps, and details of Guilford County’s participation in various foreign wars. In the middle of the walls there is an obelisk decorated with bronze plaques dedicated to the memory of the soldiers. More than 400 personalized paving stones honor members of the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Navy.

(c) 2021 the Sun Journal (New Bern, NC)

Visit the Sun Journal (New Bern, NC) at http://www.newbernsj.com

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