Fallen soldier memorial opening in Murrells Inlet on Veterans Day

akelley@thesunnews.comNovember 10, 2013 

Veterans memorial

A new memorial for fallen South Carolinian soldiers will be unveiled in Murrells Inlet for Veterans day at noon Monday.

Paul Roberts, commander of the Murrells Inlet VFW Post 10420, said a three-section memorial made of black granite has the inscription of South Carolinian soldiers killed during the Iraq and Afghanistan War.

Roberts, who became commander in June, estimated the memorial’s cost at about $20,000 and said it was the brainchild of Darryl Hammond, VFW vice commander, and member Jack Novak. The two came up with the idea about two years ago. Donations collected during that period paid for the memorial.

The memorial sits on the north side of the property between the VFW and the Conway National Bank branch in Murrells Inlet.

Roberts said the service to unveil the memorial usually would be earlier in the day, but was pushed to noon to accommodate those who would be traveling.

“A woman called and said she is coming from Cowpens, S.C.,” he said. “I had to look it up. These people are driving five or six hours to come.”

He expects the service to bring between 100 and 200 people together Monday to honor all veterans.

Hammond said raising funds wasn’t easy and the entire cost hasn’t been covered yet.

“Once I get it set in place, maybe some people who didn’t want to donate before will now,” he said. “A lot of people are hesitant about donating to something for fear that it isn’t going to get done.”

Donations also will be collected for memorial bricks which will surround the monument, Hammond said.

Hammond said he wasn’t sure if another such memorial exists for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but said he felt it was important that those soldiers were remembered too.

“I was in Vietnam and there are memorials for me,” he said. “We’ve got WWII, WWI, Korea. It’s important to remember all of those that sacrificed their lives.”

The memorial has 109 names inscribed in the granite that Hammond hopes are never forgotten.

“You’ve got to remember that all these men and women that are on this memorial volunteered to serve our country,” he said. “It’s important for young people to remember that there are Americans that care about what they do.”

Roberts, too, said the memories are important.

“We need to remember what they did,” he said. “Nobody talks about what happened. They don’t tell horror stories. But, it’s always good to remember what these veterans did and why they did it.”

Roberts said a rededication is in the works for Memorial Day when the area around the memorial is expected to be complete with plantings and bricks.

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