When Sgt. Donald Lamar died in Afghanistan while serving in the Marine Corps, his parents asked Stafford County officials if they could name a street after their son.
But Stafford officials wanted to do more than that. They wanted a visible reminder honoring all those from Stafford who have served in the armed forces.
An armed services memorial, the first of its kind in Stafford County, is now in the works.
Elizabeth Davis, the widow of Marine 1st Lt. Matthew Davis, said that the memorial’s holistic approach in a county populated with many veterans drew her to support it. She is now a member of the committee working to make the memorial a reality.
She said her husband would appreciate the fact that it doesn’t just honor one branch of the armed services or just one conflict, but gives people a place to honor many service members’ sacrifices.
The memorial’s highlight will be a granite wall etched with the figures of armed service members.
Markers indicating all the wars that Stafford residents have served in—from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror—will line a walkway leading to the granite wall and a fountain.
Families can also purchase bricks to memorialize service members.
“It will give us the opportunity to go there and sit down on the bench and contemplate,” said American Legion Post commander John Cox, another member of the Armed Services Memorial Committee. “In every other county, in every other state you go to, you will find a memorial honoring the people from that county that served.”
Cox, who served in the Marine Corps for 23 years, said Stafford’s only other memorial is one near the Stafford Courthouse that was erected in 1985, and it is much smaller than the one planned.
The committee is more than halfway to its goal of raising $675,000.
As of Thursday, the committee had raised $483,275, including a $100,000 donation from the Silver Cos. and a $225,000 appropriation from the county.
“We owe our freedom [to them],” Larry Silver, the CEO of Silver Cos., said Thursday after announcing his company’s donation. “They richly deserve the kind of recognition for their service that we are launching here today in Stafford County.”
Atlantic Builders’ $25,000 donation will sponsor a flagpole featured on the walkway just before the war markers.
Lt. Gen. Ron Christmas, a retired Marine and another member of the committee, explained that the memorial’s location at the back of the Stafford County government center will allow space for ceremonies.
“You can recognize the service. You can recognize the sacrifice, recognize how important it is to those who served, who took the time to serve and have made our country the great country it is today,” Christmas said.
A 2013 competition selected designs from five Stafford students as finalists.
The design from North Stafford High School student Aaron Brown won, though elements of all five students’ entries were incorporated into the memorial.
For more information, to donate or to buy a brick, visit StaffordArmedServicesMemorial.weebly.com.