The large crowd gathered on East Avenue hushed in reverence as bugler Rhonda Sizemore began to play the first haunting notes of Taps.
Flags representing all branches of the U.S. Military were raised, standing out boldly against the cloudless blue sky. And those gathered to witness the culmination of a dream applauded excitedly as the Cedartown Veterans Park was officially opened.
Construction began on the park this past April, though the initial groundbreaking occurred back in July of 2003.
According to Jean Hampton, Secretary of the Memorial Park Committee, the idea for the park was originally proposed back the spring of 2002.
Chairman of the Memorial Park Committee, Marvin Hampton said that sizable donations from the city and the W.D. Trippe Trust Fund helped considerably toward the approximate $200,000 it cost to construct the park. He also stated that there have been many other generous contributions from businesses and individuals from all over Cedartown, making the Veterans Park a total community effort.
According to Jean Hampton, $180,000 has been raised, which covers the cost of what has been done so far. Over 700 memorial plaques have been purchased as well, which greatly helped with expenses. Jean Hampton stated that the committee hopes to sell 1000 of the plaques.
The park features monuments listing all of Polk County’s veterans killed in combat, as well as POWs. Individual monuments representing each branch of service surround a fountain and memorial plaques encompass the majority of the park.
Marvin Hampton said that the park was built to “enhance the natural beauty of Cedartown and Polk County.”
“It will be an asset to this area for many years and will be a reminder to all of us the sacrifices our veterans have made during war and peace time,” he said.