Two and a half years since the groundbreaking ceremony and beginning of construction of the NC Korean War Veterans Memorial in the Park on Fairview, construction is 85 percent complete.
The granite sign was first, then came the footings and construction of the four-foot tall brick wall planter, topped with 80 green boxwood plants.
Plumbing PCV lines were laid, connecting the fountain in the center of the memorial and the irrigation system to the planter and trees. A 1,000-gallon tank to supply the water has been buried and is ready to be hooked up to the main water supply line. Electrical conduit lines to the in-ground lighting throughout the memorial are ready for wiring to the control panel. A six-inch concrete flooring was poured and an additional amount of concrete was added on four sections in the center that will be covered with Astroturf. Two life-size granite statues, one dressed in a poncho and the other in class A uniform, stand guard at the four 14-foot tall granite pylons with the names of the 788 men from North Carolina who were killed or are listed as missing in action during the Korean War.
Loads of four-inch granite slabs were placed starting at the sign and moving down into and through the memorial. On many of the slabs are more than 400 engraved memorial pavers remembering and honoring “veterans of all wars.” Stainless steel handrails have been manufactured and await installation on the two handicap ramps leading to the fountain and Hallowed area of the memorial. The center is the water fountain with the South Korean flag, the “Taeguk,” colored in red and blue with fiber-optic lighting at night.
Three memorial benches were placed in the parking area facing the entrance and 10 more are on site, ready to be placed along with 14 live weeping cherry trees, around the outside of the brick planter.
Moving forward, workers still need to complete electrical and plumbing connections, place the remaining granite flooring to the road inside the park, relocate the three flags: American, N.C. State, and Mint Hill from rest area to the memorial site, and add the South Korean and POW/MIA flags.
Also left on the list is to install handicap hand rails and curbs on the handicap ramps, finish the granite and flooring work around the statues, engrave the Medal of Honor faces on the statue bases, engrave any additional memorial pavers, place the seven “Appreciation” granite markers at the entrance, complete the work on the fountain top, connect fiber-optic light control box, install granite curbing that will complete the walkways and the roadway entrance, and complete the final landscaping.
Last will be correcting cosmetic and errors in engraving, followed by installing the Astroturf carpeting.
Fundraising continues, and the latest project is the Korean War Veterans Cook Book.
Chapter 265 has raised and spent $480,000, and an additional $85,000 is needed to complete construction, along with a $140,000 to pay back a non-interest loan. N.C. Korean War Veteran’s Association Chapter 265 is a 501-C -19 nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax deductible to the extent of the law.
The dedication date is still to be determined, but June 25, the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the war in 1953 is being considered.
For additional information on Memorial pavers and donations: please contact Capt. Don G. Putnam USAF KWV, 7036 Thorncliff Drive, Charlotte, N.C., 28210, 704-496-4709, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Col. Billy J. Reid. (Ret.) USAF KWV, 8433 Rittenhouse Circle, Charlotte, N.C. 28270, 704-302-5268. www.koreanwarmemorialnc.com