Don Talbot was gazing over Freedom Memorial Park, and pointing to that vacant area where he hopes to one day see a Global War on Terrorism monument.
It will cost about $25,000, he was saying, and so far there have been no takers.
“Not a day goes by that we are bombarded with news regarding ISIS or ISIL and the carnage they are wreaking across the world,” he was saying two days before Islamic State terrorists took credit for killing 129 people and injuring hundreds more in Paris.
Talbot is fed up with ISIS, and the deadly havoc it has perpetrated on not only France and other countries, but most important for this Special Forces veteran and park chairman, the United States.
“Our military forces are finding themselves deployed far more often than ever before, with some troopers serving their 14th tour,” of deployment Talbot says, noting this horrific war began with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S.
It was that infamous day in our nation’s history when 19 affiliates of al-Qaida hijacked four commercial jetliners.
Two were intentionally crashed into the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York; a third, with the White House as its intended target, crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth wound up in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The death toll was 2,996 innocent lives lost then, and our American military losses have since grown to an estimated 6,000 from Iraq to Afghanistan.
“Our all-volunteer force is being stretched to its limit in keeping our nation safe from the barbarians at our gates,” says Talbot, who is passionate about securing this missing piece to the park.
The park, dedicated in 2003, is where you’ll find monuments in tribute to our military men and women – past and present – who have served from World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.
“We here in Cumberland County, home of our own Fort Bragg who supplies many of the operational forces to the war zones, must continue to show our support to the warriors who make our community their home,” Talbot says. “We have lost many servicemen and women in this continuing war and many have been wounded and disabled. We can show our respect and continued support by erecting a Global War on Terrorism monument in Freedom Memorial Park for all to see in perpetuity.”
Talbot says this community is in dire need of volunteers who would be willing to form a committee to raise funds for a Global War on Terrorism monument.
Or take it from one who knows firsthand about this war on terror.
“Perhaps this is not our longest war, but it ranks at the top,” says Dan McNeill, a city resident and the retired four-star general who was commander of the coalition forces in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003, commanded U.S. Army Forces Command from 2004 to 2007 and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2008. “More significantly, we’ve done this with an all-volunteer military, and it’s not getting over anytime soon … or doesn’t appear so. They are still out there, and they deserve this monument.”