On May 11 a new monument will be unveiled in Veterans Park.
The monument honoring the veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq will be unveiled at 10 a.m., said Toni Outland, who gained city council approval to have it placed in the park and spearheaded a fundraising effort with Cindy Jenkins to raise the money for the project.
The fundraising effort after gaining council approval in December was relatively quick. The outpouring for the project spoke volumes, she said. “It said to me people’s attitudes (to the military) are quite different than they were in the 60s and 70s. During the Vietnam era.”
What touched her the most during the fundraising effort was a 6-year-old girl who walked up, opened her purse and told Outland she wanted to give because her father is in the Navy. “That was the most touching dollar I ever received. The outpouring was great.”
For the unveiling at Veterans Park she plans on having an ROTC unit, a high school band and speakers.
Reverend Willie McLawhorn, whose son died in Afghanistan in 2010, is one of the speakers, along with Halifax County Commissioner Rives Manning and Reverend Randy Martin.
Roy Ball of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, who is also a veteran, will serve as master of ceremonies and the five flags of the armed services along with the American and North Carolina flag will be presented.
Outland is still working on finalizing last-minute details for the ceremony.
“It’s a community event,” Outland said. “I want it to be something they can be proud of. I appreciate every donation I got.”
It was through input of the veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq that the monument became complete, said Outland. “Ours says ‘For those who fought terrorism.’ That was their input, the number 1 thing in their conversations. I wanted to respect what they thought.”
As far as the final product, which sits covered now in Veterans Park until next Saturday’s ceremony, Outland said, “I was extremely pleased. I have no problems with it.”
She credited Jay Carlisle of Hockaday Funeral and Cremation Service for guiding her through the steps. “Jay made the process easy for me.”
Melissa Hand, manager of Texas Steakhouse where Outland works, said Outland has always had a passion for veterans and is tenacious when it comes to projects involving them. “Once she sets her mind on something you can’t stop her.”