LAURINBURG — Members of American Legion Post 50 honored founders of one of Laurinburg’s hidden gems — the Veterans Garden.
The memorial garden was built three years ago by the American Legion Park board of directors and associates. The site is host to 12 walls built with 1,200 bricks incribed with the names of soldiers.
The two men that helped spearhead the project — Jimmy Bennett and Dewey Pittman — received Eagle Statues during Wednesday’s ceremony.
“They single-handedly increased this memorial and doubled it,” said Bill Riggins, board member. “We are going to honor them because it has to be a labor of love, they get nothing for it.”
Pittman and Bennett collected the initial 600 bricks and helped round up the rest. There is room for a total of 2,000 before the board has to make room for more.
“We will eventually have to add onto it,” Riggins said. Hoping to continue the business that the American Legion funded and put together.
The common price tag for a memorial brick is $100, but the Legion decided to charge $50 a piece, making no profit for themselves.
“I think it’s a tourism element, people come here, bring their families and I know that because I live right down the street and I see it,” Mayor Tommy Parker said. “This is a valuable part of our community and people have a sense of pride when they see it.”
The garden is a place for veterans to visit and families to honor their loved ones.
“There are always cars parked here and people milling around,” Parker said.
Even though some community members know of the garden, a lot are still in the dark about it.
“It’s going to become more recognizable now that they are expanding it,” he said. “The demand is about 200 bricks a year now and they already have 1,200.”
Another reason the garden will become more recognizable is because it welcomes veterans from all over the world. The memorial is not just for county residents, but instead it offers a home to any veteran from any war. The only drawback is that it isn’t a well-known landmark just yet, explained Riggans.
“It’s so new that we haven’t really brought it to anyone’s attention, this is the first time we’ve had any attention on the garden other than our opening three years ago,” Riggins said. “We hope to keep adding on to it.”
Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.