Armed Forces monument becomes reality for rural community

New Armed Forces Memorial at the National Guard armory in Batesburg Leesville

The Armed Forces Monument at the National Guard armory in Batesburg Leesville has been completed and will officially be dedicated this evening at 7:00 p.m. Four local individuals including the mayor and a newspaper reporter began this project 18 months ago. Sgt. Trey Anthony, a recruiter at the armory and one of the men responsible for the memorial, says this was a grass roots movement.
“We raised money in regard to one brick at a time,” said Anthony.

Example of inscribed bricks

“$100 is what the inscribed brick costs and from that we’ve raised to build a monument in our community which we have lacked that essentially honors all members of the Armed Forces. Not just the National Guard or not just one particular branch. It is all branches of our military. We have a marker for each one. We have the inscribed bricks which are personalized for a loved one or even the soldier himself to buy.”
Sgt. Anthony says there is plenty of space available for anyone who would like to honor a loved one. “Absolutely. We got a little over 350 inscribed bricks right now,” he said. “There are enough spaces in there to include 8,000. Hopefully over the years we will be adding names to it long after me and Sgt. Ozmint are gone and, hopefully for years to come, the community will have a place to honor those who have served.”
He says that many folks contributed and, as a result, the memorial is nearly

Another view

paid for. According to Sgt. Anthony, “It is as close to paid for as we can get. Our bricks–the one who actually laid all of our bricks here, Marty Henry of Henry masonry–he stepped up. We paid him a majority of what we owe him and there’s a little bit left for that but he told us, ‘hey guys, let’s get this thing completed. Let’s get it dedicated and we’ll worry about the money later.’ So really, he’s stepped up in a big way that has allowed us to move forward instead of having to wait.”
Sgt. Anthony says tonight’s dedication is intended to be a small, community celebration.

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