There will be a dedication of a new flag and flagpole and Fallen Soldier Battle Cross monuments to introduce in addition to some of the more familiar ceremony during the program which is jointly sponsored by the Veterans Memorial Park Association, Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, and University of Alabama’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs.
According to VMPA Chairman Col. Duane Lamb, the “Memorial Keynote speaker, Major General Janet Cobb, (Retired, US Army) is an American patriot with over 35+ years of service to our country. She commanded at the detachment, battalion, brigade, directorate and flag officer levels, and deployed to locations all over the globe. She is currently serving as the Executive Director of the USS Alabama Battleship Commission and Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Alabama.”
The new flagpole is 70 feet in height and the accompanying flag is 15 x 25 feet in size. The new flagpole was installed with thanks to the Exchange Club of Tuscaloosa, Mr. and Mrs. Leroy, McAbee, Sr., Buffalo Rock Pepsi, Thomas P. Hester, CDR and Mrs. Lee A Hallman, Col. And Mrs. Duane A. Lamb, Home Instead Senior Care, CAPT and Mrs. Lawrence R. Magner, Jr. WJRD & WMHZ, Award Company of America and PARA.
"From the original dedication of the Veterans Memorial Park in early 1978 the U. S. Flag has flown from the crow's nest atop the Main Mast of the Heavy Cruiser USS Tuscaloosa (CA37. An old sailor knows that the crow's nest is not the correct place from which to fly The Colors. I have often vocalized the desire to have an appropriate height flag pole with a correspondingly appropriate size "Old Glory" waving proudly over our superb Tuscaloosa Veterans Memorial Park. Now we have it! Thanks to all whose contribution(s), small or large, donations, work and/or encouragement, made it happen," said CDR Lee A. Hallman, U.S. Navy, Retired.
“In addition to the new 70 foot high flag pole and brick-paver platform, five new Battle Cross monuments have been added to our Park, due to the epic efforts and support of Leroy McAbee. These Battle Crosses represent the battle dress (helmet, rifle, dog-tags and boots) of our military troops that fought in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq/Afghanistan. Historically, on the battle-field, a Battle Cross is erected at the spot in honor of a fallen soldier by troops within their combat unit,” said Lamb.
At the conclusion of the service, association members will raise a flag on a new flagpole, identify new Battle Cross monuments and lay a wreath in honor of all men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country at the Military Order of the Purple Heart Monument.
State and local elected officials, Veterans and Veterans Committee members are expected to participate.