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Here is a story for you and it will help us a lot in bringing a Purple Heart Memorial Monument into Freedom Memorial Park prior to Memorial Day 2020.

***We are looking for some financial support from the community as the monument and foundation cost will come close to $10,000.00. We anticipate the monument to be in place by May 20, 2020, or before Memorial Day.

The Fort Bragg Chapter 2226, Military Order of the Purple Heart of America, is a non profit corporation under 501 (c)(19).

Interested supporters of this project can mail contributions to: Fort Bragg Chapter 2226, MOPH, PO Box 72745, Fort Bragg, NC 28307-2745

Please memo checks: PH Monument

Visitors to Freedom Memorial Park see many names on the various war memorial monuments not realizing that all of service members whose name are engraved upon the monuments were killed in action and are recipients for the Purple Heart Medal for being combat wounded. The Purple Heart memorial monument calls your attention to them and also to the millions of combat wounded service members in our nation’s combat actions across the globe. The memorial monument is a lasting tribute to all combat wounded miltary service members of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, North Carolina and the USA.

POC: Don Talbot
Fort Bragg Chapter 2226, MOPH
910-977-7776 C

For almost a decade, a group of veterans has been traveling North Carolina to honor men and women who have spilled blood, lost limbs and have been otherwise injured for their country.

The group, the Purple Heart Foundation of North Carolina, has hosted dinners in Asheville, Charlotte, Goldsboro, New Bern, Wake Forest, Winston-Salem and Wilmington.

On what is characterized as the most solemn day of the year, Downtown Fayetteville served as the center of Memorial Day observances in Cumberland County, honoring those who have fallen in military service.

A service in Freedom Memorial Park featured a wreath-laying and moment of silence for the thousands of service members who have been unaccounted for since the Cold War.

“Make no mistake, we are in the presence of the dead,” declared Don Talbot, chairman of the Freedom Memorial Park steering committee.

In the crowd was an ex-prisoner of war who was captured and held in Vietnam for five years.

Ray Schrump was brought to tears describing the significance of Memorial Day.

“To me, it’s a very personal thing because of the number of men who died in my presence and my best friend in Korea died in my arms,” Schrump said. “It’s a day we set aside to honor and pay tribute to these men.”

At the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, a K-9 Memorial service paid tribute to the four-legged comrades killed in action, including “Pepper”.

Pepper served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was killed in action in 2006. Pepper’s statue stands as a symbol of sacrifice in front of hundreds of flags in the ASOM Field of Honor.

Earlier Monday morning, the Deputy Commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps on Fort Bragg paused for reflections, focusing on veterans of the Vietnam War.

“Across America, some people dream the dream,” said Major General Jefforey Smith. “Some people love the dream. Some people defend the dream. Thank God for all those who defend the dream and for all who sacrifice themselves for this country.”

Hundreds of people across the Cape Fear region paused Monday to thank thousands who gave their lives in military service during Memorial Day events.

The largest took place at Freedom Memorial Park in downtown Fayetteville, where Maj. Gen. Jefforey Smith told a sun-splashed crowd that “your presence here today speaks volumes.

“Your remembrance of those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice is appreciated.

“Across America, there are people who dream the dreams of freedom. There are those who live the dream. And there are those who must defend the dream.”

Smith, deputy commander of the 18th Airborne Corps, quoted former President Ronald Reagan, saying we should thank God for those willing to die defending that dream.

“They believed in the call of duty from their nation,” he said. “Peace is a fragile thing that requires constant vigilance.”

The ceremony also was an opportunity to salute Don Talbot, chairman of the park’s steering committee and one of its biggest supporters. Talbot received the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal.

“In the military, we like to recognize those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty,” Smith said. “Mr. Talbot has done that with his tireless efforts.”

The ceremony was the 18th consecutive in downtown Fayetteville. Talbot said “it is a nice feeling to have so many people care to remember and appreciate the sacrifices of others who have kept our nation safe and secure.

“Feelings beget feeling, and great feeling begets great feeling. It is a great feeling to come together and share the feeling of our service men and women and the families who have lost loved ones in our wars and conflicts.”

Wreaths were placed to commemorate the fallen from wars dating to World War I. In addition, North Carolina’s Chapter 1 of Rolling Thunder honored those still missing.

Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson declared Monday a day of remembrance in the city.

“Let us pray for a permanent peace as the flag flies at half-staff,” he said.

Across Bragg Boulevard at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, retired Army canine handler David Nielsen told a hushed audience about the sacrifice of another fighter: Pepper, a trained German Shepherd who died helping flush a hidden sniper in Iraq.

“Pepper didn’t just lay down her life,” Nielsen said. “She did what she did out of love for her best friend and her pack. She’d do anything for us, but God help anyone who threatened her pack.

“She was a glowing eyed nightmare for foes.”

Sixty-two small flags dotted the canine memorial at the museum – one for each fallen dog used by the military since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

“Each is an American soldier – often many more than one – who came home because of their sacrifice,” said Chuck Yerry, president of the Special Operations Forces K9 Memorial Foundation.

In Spring Lake, Mayor Chris Rey addressed more than 350 people at Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery who attended a ceremony and rededication of its committal structure.

“Today, we remember our veterans who stood at the gate of freedom,” Rey said.

The rededication was the culmination of a 4-year effort to enclose the once open-air funeral site.

“This was no way for families to say their good-byes to loved ones,” said the Rev. Archie Barringer, one of the people who spearheaded the effort to enclose the structure.

Ilario Pantano, director of the N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs, joined Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Fort Bragg and the 18th Airborne Corps, in laying a wreath near the bell tower.

“We’re here to remember all who have donned the national uniform,” Townsend said. “And we are here to honor those who have taken their final roll call. This place stands as a fitting tribute” to all branches of service, whether lives were lost in war, training or a retired veteran simply died in peace.

“What matters is they all raised their right hand, and served. To all, thank you. God bless the United States and our armed forces.”

There also was a ceremony scheduled Monday afternoon in Hope Mills.

Staff writer Bill Kirby Jr. contributed to this report.

Staff writer Chick Jacobs can be reached at or 486-3515.

Directory of local parks with trails, facilities and other amenities.

For more information on the parks and their programs, go to

Arnette Park: 2165 Old Wilmington Road. Picnic areas, playgrounds, trails, tennis courts, horseshoes, sand volleyball court, ball fields and disc golf. Haunted hayrides in October and Christmas in the Park in December. 433-1547

Arsenal Park: 801 Arsenal Ave. Nearly 5-acre site contains remnants of the U.S. Arsenal, built to store arms in 1836. Green space, trails. 486-1330

Cape Fear River Trail: The completed first phase is four miles, running from Jordan Soccer Complex at Treetop Drive to Clark Park on Sherman Drive. The paved trail is open to pedestrians, joggers, bicycles, rollerblades and other non-motorized transport. The trail is home to an abundance of wildlife and several bridges that provide views of the river and marshland.

J. Bayard Clark Park: 631 Sherman Drive. Trails and nature center on 76 acres. Canoe launching, fishing, picnic tables, playground, primitive camping, waterfall, ranger-guided tours. 433-1579

Cliffdale Elementary School/Park: Cliffdale Road. Recreation center, volleyball court, ball fields, playground, green space.

College Lakes Park: 4846 Rosehill Road. Newly renovated. Ball fields, playground, trail, green space.

Cross Creek Linear Park: From Festival Park at Ray Avenue to the Riverside Dog Park at North Eastern Boulevard. Completed scenic 2.8-mile trail includes the fountain on Mason Street, statue of the Marquis de Lafayette, six bridges over the creek.

Douglas Byrd Middle School/Park: Ireland Drive. Walking trail, four baseball fields, multipurpose field for football and soccer.

Eastover Community Park: 2721 Ball Park Road. Ball fields, pavilion. 485-7424

Fayetteville Community Garden: Vanstory and Mann streets. 100 plots available to residents for planting vegetables, flowers and herbs. 433-1547

Festival Park: Ray Avenue and Rowan Street. Lawn area of 3.5 acres in front of covered amphitheater. 433-1547

Freedom Memorial Park: Hay Street and Bragg Boulevard. War monuments.

General Lee Park: General Lee Avenue. Playground.

Dorothy D. Gilmore Park: 1600 Purdue Drive. Recreation center, handicapped accessible playground.

Glen Reilly Park: Glen Reilly Road and Wadsworth Court. Green space, horseshoe pit, pavilion, playground, walking path.

Glendale Acres Elementary School/Park: 2915 Skycrest Drive. Playground, ball fields, walking path, green space.

Godwin Park: Markham Street. Playground, walking trail, picnic shelters, volleyball court.

Hall Park: Hall Park Road. Ball fields, picnic shelters.

Honeycutt Elementary School/Park: Lakewood Road. Ball fields, playground, green space.

Honeycutt Park: Fort Bragg Road and Devers Street. Ball fields, playgrounds, trail, picnic tables, recreation center, green space. 433-1568

Lake Rim Elementary School/Park: Hoke Loop Road. Recreation center, ball fields, gym, playground, walking path.

Lake Rim Park: 2214 Tar Kiln Drive. Picnic areas, horseshoe pits, trails, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, ball fields, playgrounds. 433-1018

Lamon Street Park: Lamon and Ann streets. Ball fields, playground, picnic tables, pavilion. Adult softball leagues play here. 433-1004

Martin Luther King Jr. Park: Blue Street. Statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., picnic pavilion and open space.

Massey Hill Park: 1612 Camden Road. Ball fields, recreation center, horseshoe pit, picnic tables, playground, in-line skating rink. 433-1569

Mazarick Park: Belvedere Avenue. Boat rentals, disc golf course, picnic shelters, trails, tennis courts, ball fields. 433-1547

Max Abbott Middle School/Park: Winding Creek Road. Ball fields, gym, walking path, green space.

E.E. Miller Elementary School/Park: Rim Road. Recreation center, ball fields, playground, green space.

Montclair Elementary School/Park: Glensford Drive. Ball fields, playground, walking path, green space.

Myers Park: 1018 Rochester St. Ball fields, horseshoes, playground, green space.

Nick Jeralds Middle School/Park: Ramsey Street. Ball fields, gym, green space.

North Carolina Veterans Park: 300 Bragg Blvd. Pays tribute to veterans from all branches of the military. Peaceful sitting areas, fountains and water features and bronze sculptures of the hands of 100 veterans. Visitors center. 433-1457, 433-1458, 433-1944 or

Pine Forest Middle School/Park: Ramsey Street. Recreation center, ball fields, playground, walking path.

Ponderosa Elementary School/Park: Bonanza Drive. Ball fields, playground, green space.

Reid Ross Classical School/Park: Ramsey Street. Ball fields, gym, track, green space.

Riverside Dog Park: 555 N. Eastern Blvd. Park for small and big dogs. 433-1547

Rowan Park: 725 W. Rowan St. Recreation center, picnic tables, playground, tennis courts, amphitheater, the blue whale. 422-1547

J.W. Seabrook Park: 708 Langdon St. Ball fields, basketball courts, recreation center, playgrounds, pool. 433-1571

Senior Center: 739 Blue St. Horseshoes, recreation center, walking path, picnic tables. Holds weekly and monthly programs and special trips. 433-1574

Christina Smith Park: 500 Fisher St. Playground, splash pad, ball fields, basketball courts, recreation center, volleyball, picnic tables, horseshoes, green space. 433-1572

Mable C. Smith Park: 1367 Shadbush Lane. Basketball courts, football/soccer field, picnic tables, playground, walking trails, horseshoe pit, green space. 433-1547

Stedman Elementary School/Park: Circle Drive. Recreation center, ball fields, playground, walking path.

Stoney Point Elementary School/Park: Rockfish Road. Recreation center, playground, walking path, green space.

Tokay Park: 328 Hamilton Drive. Ball fields, recreation center, picnic tables, playground, tennis courts, rubberized track, green space. 433-1547

Westover Park: Bonanza Drive, next to Westover High School. Ball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, trail, green space.

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.”

A striking museum in downtown Fayetteville – an easy escape only about two hours’ drive from Myrtle Beach – will leave a special, humbling impression in every visitor.

The U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum, 100 Bragg Blvd., at Hay Street, takes guests on journeys that specialty soldiers have taken to help safeguard our nation and service personnel, from World War II through the second decade in this century with the continuing war on terror.

The layout of this building, opened in 2000 – and dedicated with then-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, now retired Gen. Henry Hugh Shelton, a Tar Heel native and N.C. State University graduate – takes a chronological tour from 1940 and the birth of a new weapon of war against the Third Reich: paratroopers. That first airborne assault command was coordinated by then-Maj. William Lee, from nearby Dunn and forever known as the “Father of the American Airborne,” who helped plan the the air invasion of Normandy two years later. That’s when the 101st Airborne Division would “Stand up, hook up, and see you in France.”

The World War II wing of the building fills its expanse. Stop by for a seat in the fuselage of a former C-47 military transport plane, and nearby, watch a video of paratroopers taking their leaps.

Peer closely at collections of memorabilia such as a Japanese imperial battle flag with its rising red sun and rays, and inscribed with a Shinto prayer and signed in Japanese by well-wishers. Also in the Pacific Theater area, check out a “C-B-I” theater patch from the Allies, with its sun symbolizing China, the star for Burma and India, and the stripes for the United States.

One area pays tribute to the “Triple Nickles,” the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion composed of all black men, led by Capt. James H. Porter, as these pioneer smokejumpers helped guard the U.S. Northwest from Japanese launched incendiary balloons intended to start forest fires. A highlighted quote captured these men’s heart: “They fought for freedom, even though they were not free themselves.”

Learn about how British-made folding bicycles aided airborne divisions in landings in Germany, carried on gliders and in containers.

The start of the long Cold War includes plenty of material from the Korean War, to start the 1950s. Read the details on a North Korean soldier’s ID card, including his birth and enlisted dates, and monthly pay, and test your eyes in studying counterfeit vs. real North Korean currency in a 100-won note.

One panel explains how the Green Beret became the symbol for U.S. special forces after then-President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Fort Bragg.

Standing beside a preserved Howitzer, amaze your mind when pondering how they were delivered: by pallet to combat drop zones.

Moving on to the Vietnam War era, take home thoughts of some tricks of the trade used on Southeast Asian soil, with boots that left barefoot prints, used by special forces to fool enemies. A UH-1 “Huey” helicopter, with mannequins shown in various modes – including a medic tending to an injured solider – remains its own symbol of that conflict that spanned four U.S. presidencies into the mid-1970s.

When walking by the M-551 Sheridan light tank on display, think about how it was airdropped in 1989 for use in airborne reconaissance for Operation Just Cause in Panama.

One sign contains two quotes that underscore the soul of everyone who serves in uniform for the Stars and Stripes, words that resonate as loudly today as when they were first uttered:

▪ “History does not entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid” (President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Army general and Allied commander in Europe).

▪ “We sleep safe in our beds because rough men [and today, women] stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm” (George Orwell).

Just meandering the self-guided course through this museum, two hours will pass by with ease. Then, returning outside will beckon some more minutes by another special memorial site. Within a ring of crepe myrtle trees, it salutes war dogs’ “Constant vigilance” because “the bond between a special operations forces handler & his K9 is eternal, trusting each other in a nameless language.” Inscribed stones of military K9s who died in service to our country, bear names such as Bart, Spike, Nemo and Reno.

Two other places adjacent to the museum property – Fayetteville’s Freedom Memorial Park and the N.C. Veterans Park – also remind everyone that “Freedom is not free.”

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 843-444-1764.

If you go

WHAT: U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum

WHERE: 100 Bragg Blvd., Fayetteville, N.C., at Hay Street. Reach downtown from Interstate 95, by taking Exit 46 and north on N.C. 87.

OPEN: 10 a.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, and noon-5 p.m. Sundays (but not March 27, for Easter)

ALSO OPEN TWO MONDAYS IN 2016: May 30 for Memorial Day, and July 4 for Independence Day.

HOW MUCH: Free, but donations welcome

INFORMATION: 910-643-2778,, or email

AREA INFORMATION: 800-255-8217 or

ALSO IN FAYETTEVILLE: At the Crown Complex, 1960 Coliseum Drive – From I-95, take Exit 46 for N.C. 87 north, then Owen Drive west (left) a short distance:

▪ Fayetteville FireAntz, in Southern Professional Hockey League, in coliseum, 7:05 p.m. Feb. 5, 6, 12 and 19; and March 1, 11, 12 and 25. Also, 4:05 p.m. Feb. 21. $15, $17, $19 or $21 ages 13 and older, and $7 ages 12 and younger. 910-321-0123

▪ Concerts such as Jason Aldean, with Thomas Rhett, and A Thousand Horses, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20, in coliseum; Boyz II Men, 7:30p.m. March 11 in theater; and “Clifford The Big Red Dog Live!” 6:30 p.m. April 12, in theater. (Information at 910-438-4100 or, tickets at 800-653-8000 or

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