Prioritizing the repairs… Oversight committee identifies needs at War Memorial and Walk of Honor

Published 9:06 pm Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Elizabethton/Carter County War Memorial and Walk of Honor Oversight Committee had just met for the first time in 2020 to begin looking at potential projects surrounding the areas downtown when COVID-19 reared its ugly head and shut down any work that was identified.

After being held at bay for almost 14 months, the committee came together once again to take a renewed look at what needed the most attention.

City Council Mayor Pro Tem Bill Carter heads up the committee along with members Rick Walters, Andy Wetzel, Tom Hitchcock, and Mike Barnett and the group took time to look at items such as cracked concrete, lighting issues, faded metal on top of the entrance ways, and the shrubs that have grown up in front of the War Memorial.

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In speaking with Carter, he reflected on how time has flown by since the inception of the War Memorial and Walk of Honor.

“This was the result of the work Deacon Bowers put into getting this project done I guess over 19 years ago,” said Carter. “That is why we are here to try and maintain it.”

While meeting, the group also discussed the possibility of putting low-profile solar-powered lighting on top of the columns that are part of the wall. Also, the tops of the columns will either need to be cleaned or have caps put on to help prevent black mold from getting in the crevices.

All of the committee agreed that the shrubs need to be taken out to allow visitors to see the War Memorial through the fence and to cut down on the amount of trash that accumulates in the shrubs.

There will be an additional flag added as well when the Space Force Flag is raised. The group agreed that the current POW flag could be moved under the American Flag which currently is replaced at needed intervals by Senator Rusty Crowe.

One of the other very important things that need to be done as well is getting new bricks installed on the new section of the Walk of Honor wall. Currently, there are 19 applications awaiting to have bricks installed on the wall and Carter encouraged others to honor their family members as well that have served with a brick.

“Any resident of Carter County who has been in the military can be added to the wall,” Carter shared. “They just need to be from Carter County, pick up and fill out an application from the Elizabethton City Hall, and provide verification of service such as a DD214 form.

“The bricks are $100 each. Currently, we have close to 6,000 bricks on the wall and there are 258 names on the War Memorial. The new wall should be able to hold up to 90 new bricks which should last us a while.”

Other items mentioned to be considered include putting down new mulch, pointing the brick and replacing the curated mortar, and cleaning the rest of the bricks.

The committee has approximately $90,000 in the Veteran Fund which was inherited from the original committee.

Also, the committee is planning their Memorial Day program which will be held on Monday, May 31st at 11 am at the War Memorial. On the agenda will be the Pledge of Allegiance, a special presentation of the National Anthem, and plans to read the 258 names which adorn the War Memorial.