Purple Heart Memorial near complete, includes 44 names
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The permanent stones for the Purple Heart memorial in John Sparkman Park in Hartselle were installed on Friday by Clark Memorial Co. of Birmingham. They bear the names of 44 Purple Heart recipients.
On one stone are names of members of the sponsoring organization, Chapter 2212, Order of the Purple Heart, Morgan and Lawrence Counties. On the other are names of other recipients from the two-county area.
Stones emblazoned with the names of the five separate branches of the military service, the message inscribed on the medal and medal emblem are positioned between the other two stones.
"This is what we've been waiting for," said George Mann, commander of Chapter 2212, as he watched workers anchoring the stones on a concrete pad. "This is the fifth Purple Heart memorial in the state but nobody else's can compare to ours. I hope we'll be able to invite all of the other Purple Heart chapters in the state to come up here in the near future to see what we've been able to accomplish."
The stones, complete with engraving, were purchased from Tennessee Granite and Bronze Co. in Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.
"I thought they looked terrific when I saw them getting the finishing touches in the plant," Mann stated, "but they stand out even more now after they've been installed."
Mann said a brick walkway encircling the memorial remains to be completed. It has space for about 2,400 single and double-size individual bricks. To date, about 500 of them have been purchased and engraved as memorials to veterans, both living and deceased.
"We're way behind on getting this part of the memorial done," Mann said. "The price of the single brick, which has space for two lines, is $35 and the price of the double brick, which has space for four lines, is $65.
If you have veterans in your family, this is a wonderful way to honor them, and the best time to act is now. If you wait until after the walkway is completed, the cost to take up an unmarked brick and have it engraved will more than double the price.
Brick order blanks are available at the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce, Hartselle Enquirer and local veterans organizations. Or, if interested, you are invited to contact Jerry Cleek at 751-3093, Mark Cleek at 773-9532, James Shaffran at 350-7769, George Mills at 353-5491, or George Mann at 734-1947.