Homemade veterans memorial honors their victims

The six branches of service of the US military are presented with hand-made signs.

Matthew Sasser | daily newspaper

ROCKINGHAM – For the past two years Terry Jordan has been working on a memorial garden for veterans in his garden at his Rockingham home.

What started with a small silhouette of a kneeling soldier made from treated plywood has grown into a larger display that draws the attention of passers-by. There are now handmade shields of the six branches of the US military, along with a POWMIA flag. A brick slab carries an American flag with a memorial battlefield cross. Solar lights illuminate the functions at night.

“I’m just trying to show them some appreciation for what they did,” Jordan said.

The latest addition came this summer: a 1963 Willys Jeep and trailer that has been restored from “a terrible state”, along with new tires and a paint job.

For the holiday season, Santa Claus and Christmas lights have been added to the jeep.

The jeep was part of the November VFW Veteran’s Day Parade where Jordan drove some friends and US Army veterans Cary Dawkins and Butch Jordan. He remembered how much his friend Butch had sacrificed on the job.

“To see that someone has to go away for over a year at this time, not only leaving your wife but also leaving your child, that is a sacrifice,” said Jordan.

Jordan said that he adds items sparingly and that buying one item always leads to another.

Various community members have said how much they appreciate the display while Jordan was working on it in the yard. He added that the most enjoyable time is when a veteran drops by and he always thanks them for their services.

Jordan said that one driver in particular always seems to pause briefly at the memorial.

“That’s why I did it,” said Jordan. “I don’t know your story, but it means something to you.”

Jordan, although not a veteran himself, said he was inspired by people he knows in the community as well as a few family members. He also thanked his wife Dawn and son Carson for their help and support.

Local companies that helped restore the Jeep and its trailer include Airport Garage, Signs by Gibson Enterprises, Custom Monument Company, Hughes Welding and Crane Services, Lee’s Collision Repair, Inc, Lindsey’s Tire Center, Richmond County, and NAPA -Walker car and truck.

“You really brought it back to life,” said Jordan.

Jordan said he doesn’t know how much more additions will be to the memorial, but that there could still be a few more items that could be added. A planned future addition is a park bench that will be placed on the back of the flag for people to sit.

Everyone is invited to visit the memorial garden. It is on Fairway Drive in Rockingham.

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Contact Matthew Sasser at 910-817-2671 or [email protected]

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