The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

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April 5, 2013

Memorial expands

29 veterans’ bricks added to sidewalk

TARBORO — Twenty-nine bricks were added to the Veterans’ Walk Memorial adjacent to the Colonial Theater in downtown Tarboro Thursday morning. A small crowd gathered while John Worsley laid bricks in honor of their family members, but they didn’t linger long in the chilly wind.

George Banks, curator of the Edgecombe County Veterans’ Military Museum, said the memorial at the base of the veterans’ mural now consists of nearly 700 bricks. The bricks honor deceased and living veterans and some active members of the military.

One of the veterans honored with the laying of a brick Thursday morning was Kenneth R. Braddy of Tarboro.

“That’s a nice tribute to the people who have served,” said Braddy, of the memorial. “I feel it’s an honor. I was proud to serve.”

Braddy was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1971, during the Vietnam era and served until 1973. He was stationed in Chicago as a member of the strategic air command unit, and never served overseas. He had two brothers who had previously served, one in Korea and the other in Vietnam. In Braddy’s view, many Vietnam veterans “didn’t get the respect they deserve for serving their country.”

“It was your country calling you to duty, and you go,” he said. “We lost a lot of good folks over there.”

Joe John Harper, another U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam era, was honored with the laying of a brick in the memorial. Harper, originally from Leggett, served from 1967 until 1969. Harper now lives in Tennessee.

“I was glad to have something like that to honor our veterans, because I’m so proud of him,” said Harper’s sister, Dee Long. She said she appreciates the efforts of those who operate the veterans’ museum to honor and memorialize local veterans.

“They saved our lives, in a way. We just owe them a lot,” Long said, of those who served.

To Ken Lautzenheiser, spokesperson for the veterans’ museum, the memorial ensures that the veterans, and their service, are not forgotten.

“A lot of veterans are (forgotten),” he said. Lautzenheiser says the brick memorial is a good representative of the veterans serving in the major wars – “World War I primarily, and the Second World War, then some from Korea and Vietnam.”

The brick memorial is a fundraiser for the veterans’ museum, and the cost of purchasing a brick in honor or in memory of a veteran is $100.

“We’ve got a lot more room for more bricks,” Lautzenheiser said.

Those interested in purchasing a brick can stop by the veterans’ museum at 106 W. Church St. and pick up a form. The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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