When Post 50 organizers first broke ground on the Scotland County Veterans Garden earlier this year they hoped to have 200 honorary bricks dedicated by locals in recognition of veterans for inclusion in two honorary walls on the site.
Since then the group has had more than 370 dedicated, with requests for the $50 bricks still coming in nearly every day, according to organizers.
“The response has been great,” said Post 50 representative Dewey Pittman on Friday, standing in the beneath the billowing flags of the branches of the US Armed Forces that he and fellow Army veteran Travis Stone had planted at the garden site earlier on Friday.
“We’ve even had people just come off the street while we were out here working and dedicate a brick,” said Stone.
Starting in March, Post 50 members cleared the land on the site, and then in April the concrete pathways of the garden were layed — and all the while the project was growing in scope as requests for bricks flooded in.
While the number of bricks dedicated has exceeded expectations, and the number of memorial walls to be built has grown from two to at least four, “there is still room for many, many more bricks,” said Pittman.
A total of 50 more brick dedications would bring the total to 420, the threshold for completing six entire walls on at the garden.
Of importance to Stone is what the memorial garden represents and what it might do to keep veterans on the minds of Scotland County residents.
After reading recently about the poor turnout for ealry voting, the purpose of the Veterans Garden, was clearer to Stone. “People too easily forget that there are men who have made the ultimate sacrifice to guarantee their rights, and this garden will help with that,” he said.
Veterans of seven American conflicts are represented so far by the dedicated bricks, with 75 being dedicated in honor or memory of World War II veterans and 43 for those veterans of Vietnam. There have even been 11 bricks dedicated in memory of veterans of the First World War.
“We’ve even had bricks dedicated by people in California and Canada,” said Pittman.
Within the next two months Post 50 expects to begin work on the walls themselves, as well as the picket fence that will surround the garden area.
Those interested in dedicating bricks may contact Post 50’s Jimmy Bennett at 610-5204 or Dewey Pittman at 276-8058.