11/12/10 — Ground broken for veterans memorial

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Ground broken for veterans memorial

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 12, 2010 1:46 PM

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Ed Borden speaks to a crowd gathered to watch the groundbreaking for a new Veterans Memorial at the corner of William and Walnut streets in Goldsboro. More than 250 names will be immortalized on the wall.

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Local officials and members of the Wayne County Memorial Association broke ground Thursday at the corner of William and Walnut streets for a new veterans memorial to honor Wayne County's veterans. From left: Carroll Overton, Peggy Seegars, association Chairman Ed Borden, architect Jim Davis, Goldsboro Mayor Al King and Paul Jeffreys join in the ceremony. Supporters hope to have the site ready by Memorial Day next May.

Some saluted an American flag when a lone Air Force bugler started in with taps early Thursday morning at the site that once housed the Wayne County Memorial Community Building.

Others bowed their heads and wiped tears from their eyes.

But Donald Thompson looked to the sky -- muttering a prayer for the brother he lost to war.

"Trey," he said, will not be among those names listed on the Wayne County Veterans Memorial -- the construct a group of veterans, community leaders and local residents gathered to break ground for just after the crowds that lined Center Street hours earlier had dissipated.

His family isn't from here.

But now that Thompson calls Goldsboro home, he said once the memorial is complete, the corner of Walnut and William streets will be another place he can come pay tribute to his brother.

"I read in the paper they were doing this, so I thought I should be here," he said. "It's not my home county, but a fallen soldier is his whole country's, I reckon."

After months of research and planning, members of the board of trustees for the Wayne County Memorial Association turned dirt at what they have characterized many times as "hallowed grounds."

And its chairman, Ed Borden, told those who showed up for the ceremony just what they could expect to see at the site early next year.

Designed by landscape architect Jim Davis, the creation will include, among other things, a pavilion, the bronze plaques that were once housed in the Community Building, flags, a tribute to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and a large granite map of Wayne with the names of those who fell listed within their respective townships.

"We plan to make this park an oasis of pleasant walks, beautiful planting and appropriate memorials to those we honor here," Borden said. "This should be a somber place ... where people can feel welcome."

Just when the memorial will be complete is still unknown, although it has been suggested that Memorial Day would be a fitting date.

But for Borden and his peers, one thing was never in question.

"In meetings with veterans groups and many other concerned citizens, the preponderance of opinion told us to continue this site -- which many of us consider as hallowed ground -- as the memorial for which it was originally intended," he said. "So this site ... is dedicated to those who made the supreme sacrifice and to many other veterans who served in all wars to preserve our nation's freedom."