Community honors veterans with new park
As many celebrated the Fourth of July with fireworks, cookouts, and time with friends, it was also a good time to remember the sacrifices those who serve in the military have made for our country.
The Collinsville Veteran’s Memorial Park, located right down from the train tracks downtown, serves as a powerful reminder.
The memorial rises up over Collinsville as a tribute to all veterans. The park is composed of native stone columns towering over a brick field. The vertical stones represent every branch of military in our nation. The bricks were sold for $50 to members of the community to honor any veteran in the state.
These stones were actually quarried here in Collinsville. Jimmy Carter, the coordinator, wanted the stones to represent native sons and daughters who have served.
As one walks down the memorial, you will see a stone that is broken. This is a statement, not a construction error. “The stone is placed in such a way as to cause you to reflect that some gave their all and fell in battle. The stone lies as it does to help you realize the finality of their devotion.”
This monument, which many residents drive past every day, serves as a simple message to everyone that they should not forget those who have served or those who may be serving in the military currently.
The park broke ground in summer 2017 with a dedication ceremony in November 2017. The dedication service was a time of solemn remembrance for those who have passed. Five World War II veterans raised the flag together, and others played traditional military songs.
James Brant Noojin and Britt Haas recently worked to construct hand rails and a ramp to make the park handicap accessible. The donation was made by Fort Payne Steel.
As of May 8, there are 270 engraved bricks in the memorial, each recognizing a different service member. One important figure who has been honored in the memorial is Turner Kerley, the founder of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Collinsville. A little-known fact about the church’s founder is that he was a soldier in the 44th Colored Infantry Confederacy.
Jimmy Carter explained that the Confederate Army captured men who fought in Kerley’s infantry and held them captive as prisoners. After the war, Kerley stayed in the area and built his church, Pleasant Grove.
The memorial is teaming with reminders of those from long ago. This small town’s veterans park takes a step toward making sure the stories of those who have served is honored every day.
By Erin Blythe
Last Updated: July 11, 2018