The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross is on display at the Tuscaloosa Veterans Memorial Park, thanks to the generosity of Leroy McAbee Sr., the Hillcrest High School Army Junior ROTC program, the Tuscaloosa Parks and Recreation Authority (PARA), and the Association of the United States Army, West/Central Alabama Chapter.
“The six Battle Crosses located in the Tuscaloosa Memorial Veterans Park are representative of those sacrifices made during World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War and Afghanistan/Iraq War,” said Nicolas Britto, President, AUSA West/Central Alabama Chapter.
The arrangement of a fallen soldier’s rifle, topped by the helmet, identification tag, and a pair of boots – known as a Battle Cross – began during World War I. Since then, when a service man or women is lost on the battlefield, it is traditional for comrades to erect a Battle Cross indicating the site and memorializing his/her supreme sacrifice. The helmet and identification tags signify the dead soldier. The inverted rifle with bayonet signals a time for prayer, a break in the action to pay tribute to the comrade. The combat boots represent the final march of their last battle.