"To honor those that have borne the battle."
Those words will be inscribed on the new Purple Heart Memorial that will be unveiled and dedicated during a 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, ceremony at the Wayne County Veterans Memorial, 239 E. Walnut St.
The Purple Heart decoration, established by George Washington in 1782 as the Badge of Military Merit, is awarded to those who have been wounded or killed while serving with the U.S. military.
"I don't know how many years ago we started talking about it (memorial) -- probably four or five years ago," said Brian Volk, adjutant for Goldsboro Chapter 657 Military Order of the Purple Heart. "It is a unique partnership between the (Wayne County) Veterans and Patriots Coalition and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
"The Military Order of the Purple Heart (organization) has always had for probably better than 20 or 30 years for sure there has been a Purple Heart Memorial. It's expensive, but it is standard block issue red stone granite with certain words and terms on it."
North Carolina is fortunate in that it has a Purple Heart Foundation, Volk said.
Coalition member and Goldsboro Purple Heart Foundation Chairman Bill Graham is a part of the state foundation board.
"Through the fundraising of the Purple Heart Banquet and some other funds the coalition was able to put together enough money to pay for this monument," Volk said. "So in reality it is almost a gift from the coalition to the members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the community."
Invitations to the ceremony have been mailed, but the public also is invited, Volk said.
Light refreshments will be served at the Wayne County Museum and in case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved there as well, Volk said.
Should that happen a full-size replica will be used as a stand-in for the memorial.
Retired Army First Sgt. Sylvania Wilkerson Sr., a Purple Heart recipient, will be the keynote speaker.
He enlisted in the Army at the age of 17, and served in the Korean War. He returned to civilian life and re-enlisted two more times.
Wilkerson fought in Vietnam, where he was shot down three times. He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in the first of those helicopter crashes and gun battles.
After 22 years in the military, Wilkerson retired from the 5th Special Forces in 1975.
He is currently the commander of Goldsboro Chapter 657 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and judge advocate of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Department of North Carolina.
Lenny Lazzara, state commander N.C. State Military Order of the Purple Heart, also will speak.
Rosewood High School Jr. ROTC will present the colors, the bell toll and taps.
Marine Corps League chaplain Bill Boyd will give the benediction, and Luther Dawson, long-time member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, will give the invocation.
Coalition member Chris Brewer will sing the national anthem.
It will not be a long ceremony, Volk said.
"Ideally the proper time to dedicate this is on the seventh of August which is National Purple Heart Day," he said. "I wanted to do it on the seventh, but it didn't work out. Plus we are busy with the banquet around that time and also the national convention.
"So this date came up. This is the date that the Goldsboro chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart received its charter."
The memorial will be located in the northeast area of the memorial park.
It will require that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial be shifted 45 degrees and remain next to the Purple Heart Memorial, he said.