When American Legion Post 50 broke ground on the “Scotland County Veterans Garden” in early March members hoped to fill four walls with bricks.
The first four walls — about 95 bricks per wall — were filled with $50-brick dedications within two months. As of today, more than 650 bricks have been dedicated and an eighth wall is being erected.
“I always knew that it would go well, but right now I think we are all a little happy and surprised,” said Post 50 member Dewey Pittman.
Opening on Veterans Day in November, the garden will feature at least eight walls along with flag poles representing each of the branches of the American military and landscaping features including flowers, grass and benches.
Post 50 member and garden organizer Jimmy Bennett said that while he and Pittman had no initial goal in mind for the number of bricks that would be dedicated, they are pleased with what the “great community response” says about Scotland County residents.
“We know how bad the economy is here, and we’ve had a good response,” said Bennett, adding that the cost of the garden “will just about be covered” by the brick dedications. “The response that we have had tells me a lot about our community.”
Once the walls started going up last month, a large number of the brick dedications have come from passers-by stopping in to investigate the project.
The Post 50 building that hosts the garden sits prominently adjacent to Atkinson Street, a fact that Bennett credits with additional unsolicited sales.
“I think once people really see what we have got they’re amazed,” said Bennett. “There were people just stopping by to take a look this week and they were really impressed, and some have called later and bought bricks.”
As November approaches, plans for the official Veterans Day park opening are beginning to come into focus.
“It will be a two-fold day, with a program for Veterans Day that will end with the dedication of the park,” said Bennett.
The brick dedication memorializing the oldest veteran was purchased recently in honor of Isaac Norton who served America during the revolution in 1776, said Pittman.
“Another brick was dedicated ‘To all those who have served’ thanking them for our freedom,” said Pittman.
While Pittman said that he would “like for brick dedications to be in the military format, with first name, last name, rank, service branch and location of service,” other formats will be accepted.
Those looking to have a brick dedicated and included in the initial set of walls are encouraged by organizers to place their orders promptly. There are less than 100 currently unreserved places for bricks in the initial construction.
Those interested in dedicating bricks may contact Post 50’s Jimmy Bennett at 610-5204 or Dewey Pittman at 276-8058 for information.