American's held a moment of silence across the country at 3:00pm on Memorial Day. Many also attended the dedication of a memorial honoring World War II Veterans in Washington D.C. For many it was a moment to recognize and pay respect to their friends and family who risked their lives to ensure our freedom today. It was also a time for Veterans to thank them. For without their sacrifice many of them would not have made it home.
|Morgan County Veterans Memorial|
The sacrifice of all Veterans and those serving our country now, reminds us that freedom is not free.
One Memorial which makes this point clear is located 30 miles south of Indianapolis in Martinsville, Indiana. Martinsville is home to the Fall Foliage Festival famous for hometown fun and a parade that travels along the beautiful tree-lined streets past some of the area's most beautiful historic homes. The growing community was once known for its Mineral Water & Spas that attracted visitors from around the world to this humble town. Today visitors also come to visit two extraordinary pieces of black granite artwork that rest across the street from the town square downtown at the Morgan County Veterans Memorial Park.
The first Memorial honors 149 of Morgan Counties Hometown Heroes who were killed in the line of duty during World War I & II, Korean & Vietnam Conflicts, and the War on Terrorism. The second Memorial dedicated on Sunday November 2nd 2003 honors Veterans the world over from these tragic events in American History. Wayne Dillman of the Veterans Committee said during preparations for the dedication, "This is a tribute to men and women fighting for our freedom." The Veterans Committee worked behind the scenes to develop the program to raise funds for the Morgan County Veterans Memorial. The kick off of their fundraiser began in early November of 2001 at Martinsville High School. In time the Veteran Committee gathered with the artist of the project and went over many photographs before settling on the impressive images to be used in the memorial.
These beautiful images capture the emotional moments in time shared by actual men who participated in the wars. Those who knew these men would recognize them from the detail etchings the artist portrayed. Among the historical images visitors will find on the beautiful black granite panels are etchings of:
- World War I, that lasted from 1914 to 1918.
- World War II fought from 1939 to 1945.
- Normandy, June 6, 1944, the day the Allied forces invaded France during World War II.
- Korean Conflict, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, and images of the Flying Tigers and the Famous Flying Hump that delivered supplies into China.
- Vietnam Conflict fought from 1954 to 1975.
Missile Ships, the B2 Bomber, Stealth Bomber, and Black Hawk Helicopter also come to life upon the black granite surface.
The attack on World Trade Center Towers is also portrayed in vivid detail.
These images are already etched in our memories. Now they serve to
preserve the memory of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. The dedication of Morgan County Veterans Memorial began with a Hog Roast. A Barbershop Quartet entertained the crowd before the Rolling Thunder Veterans and the Blue Knights, local law enforcement, rode their motorcycles passed the Memorial Park to honor Veterans. Within the museum next door the Memorial Park guests gathered to view numerous pictures and artifacts related to the wars our nation has fought in, including Operation Freedom. Among these artifacts are newspaper clippings, models of planes and ships, a selection on books on wars related to the memorials and plaques honoring Hometown Heroes.
To be an American is to understand that Freedom Is Not Free. Our soldiers are still fighting here at home and abroad to preserve our way of life, and will continue to do so, if needed, in the future. A poem written upon one of the panels of Morgan County Veterans Memorial best describes this:
|Freedom is Not Free|
Freedom Is Not Free
I was that which others did not want to be.
I went where others feared to go and did what others failed to do.
I asked nothing from those who gave nothing and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal loneliness.
Should I fail I have seen the face of terror, felt the stinging cold of fear and enjoyed the sweet taste of a moments love, I have cried, pained and hoped.
But most of all, I have lived times others would say were best forgotten.
At least someday, I will be able to say that I was proud of what I was...
A Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman, Merchant Marine.
On the front panels of Morgan County Veterans Memorial it is written:
In Honor to those who served,
let us not forget,
in gratitude to those now serving.
The Memorial Park is a place where everyone can relax and meditate. The Walk of Honor through the park is laid with about 1700 bricks honoring the memory of family and friends who helped keep our country free. This site is also a exhibit of history for future generations and area youth to explore and celebrate the memory of their loved ones.
Donations continue to be accepted to help pay for the Morgan County Veterans Memorial and fund future projects. Guests who visit the Museum can also purchase bricks that will be engraved with the names of their friends and family that will be placed on the Walk of Honor. You do not need to be a resident of Morgan County to have a brick for this memorial. The Museum is open on Saturdays from 9 to 12pm. For future information about the museum, memorial, or to make a donation in honor of a loved one you may contact Wayne Dillman; Morgan County Veterans Memorial, 330 Grassyfork Lane, Martinsville, IN 46151. (765) 342-9698.