A military memorial is being erected at the National Guard armory in Batesburg-Leesville and will the first of its kind in the state of South Carolina. The memorial, funded entirely by private donors and contributions, will be completed later this summer. The memorial will be known as the “Armed Forces Monument” and will include a plaza of bricks, six markers to honor each of the branches of the military including the National Guard, a brand new stainless steel flag pole, and a brick wall in the back. Sgt. Trey Anthony of the National Guard says anyone can honor a current or former soldier.
“Basically, we just advertised in the paper and said, ‘if you would like to honor a loved one who is currently serving in any branch of service or has served in the past’ and the response was overwhelming to say the least,” said Anthony. “We had about 400 bricks sold in the past–this project is about 15 months old–so that’s kind of where we’re at right now.
“The bricks are inscribed and they are laid in the plaza of it.”
Sgt. Anthony says that today was the original target date to open the Monument, but getting it right was more important. “I don’t think Memorial Day…that was our original timeframe but just due to the labor crews and the fact that we are having this stuff donated, we’re probably going to do a dedication ceremony near the end of June is what we’re shooting for right now,” according to Anthony.
“The main thing is, to us, to try to rush through this and put something together at the last minute really wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense with the size of what we’re doing.”
Sgt. Anthony says that this is an ongoing project and they will continue to take brick orders for the foreseeable future. “This monument is ongoing,” he said. “These bricks–we laid them is sand–so there are 9000 spaces out there and we’ve filled 350 of them. This will be a continuing effort by all means. We’ll take bricks orders long after we’re gone.”
The monument is being built at an estimated cost of $45,000.