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Monument at Florence Veterans Park to honor Gold Star families

Matthew ChristianMay 24, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – The next monument at the Florence Veterans Park will honor the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Florence County Council, in a special meeting Thursday, approved the contribution of $20,000 to assist with the purchase and installation of a monument honoring Florence County’s Gold Star families.

Gold Star families are those who have lost a family member who served in the Armed Forces.

The money will come from each district’s infrastructure funding allocation. Each district will contribute $2,000 except District 5, represented by Councilman Kent Caudle, which will contribute $4,000.

Caudle, a Gold Star brother, is a member of the Gold Star Family Memorial Committee. He made the motion for the council to approve expenditure of the funds.

Caudle’s brother was killed in a military truck accident in Korea in 1971.

“If it’s anything to support our veterans, I’m all in,” Caudle said.

He added that he had seen veterans who served in Vietnam come back and be treated horribly.

The committee has already selected a design for the monument.

The monument is eight feet tall at its highest point, 10 feet across, and composed entirely of black and gray granite from the United States. The monument will feature a cutout of a saluting service member. It will feature hand-etchings on the back side. Although subject to change, the current plans have a homeland scene from Florence, a family with joined hands, a U.S. flag, and a tri-folded U.S. flag.

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Barry Wingard, chairman of the committee, said he thought that once in place the monument would become another monument in the park to receive international recognition.

The committee plans to locate the monument in a prominent space near the north entrance of the park near the Wall of Honor and the flags honoring the branches of the Armed Forces.

Caudle said the location would be very appropriate. He added that a person facing the monument straight on could see an American flag through the cutout.

The committee hopes to raise $50,000 for the monument.

Wingard said the committee will use the county’s money to make a commitment for the monument, then attempt raise the funds to purchase the monument without using any of the county’s money. He added that the county council had been very generous in assisting with the veterans park.

Checks can be made out to Florence Veterans Park; 513 Barnes Street; Florence, SC 29501.

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