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Trussville’s veterans monument honors Alabama service members from all 67 counties

Mark Davis

Trussville’s veterans monument honors Alabama service members from all 67 counties

Video shows the Fallen Warriors Monument at Veteran’s Park in Trussville. Courtesy: Mark Davis.

The City of Trussville will publicly dedicate its newest monument on Monday, May 29th. The ceremony could attract veterans and military families from across the state.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for its Fallen Warriors Monument is at 2 p.m. in Veteran’s Park. The event is free and open to all visitors.

The monument is dedicated to the 226 Alabama service members who lost their lives during the war of terrorism. Concrete columns represent the 115 who were killed in action.

Mark Davis

Each column has a dog tag that discloses the name of the soldier, their branch of service and time of death. Pavers represent the 111 who died from non-hostile deaths. Veterans from all 67 counties and five branches of the military are recognized.

The monument is the brainchild of Alabama Fallen Warriors Project founder Mark Davis and Tuscaloosa Councilman Lee Busby. Davis said the monument is designed to showcase Alabama’s support for its veterans.

“The whole monument encompasses a recognition of all the sacrifices of the service members,” Davis said. “It is said that when a military service member dies, he or she dies two deaths. The first is when they die. The second is when they’re forgotten, and the mission of the [Alabama] Fallen Warriors Project is that they will never be forgotten. The monument is an example of us remembering their service and their sacrifice.”

The monument includes many additional features. Five steel silhouettes salute the monument on a mound. And a 50-foot-tall American flag soars above the names of the fallen, casting a shadow over the columns.

It is also interactive. Before Monday, first graders were asked to write letters on what this monument meant to them and the city. These letters will be revisited when the time capsule is opened 25 years later. A QR code also allows visitors to look up any veteran at the monument with details on their lives and pictures.

Davis said he expects many military families in attendance on Monday, including those whose relatives are memorialized through this monument.

“We’re not only recognizing the soldier for their service and sacrifice, but we’re recognizing the family of those members,” he said. “The mother [of] Andrew Hand, who is in Hoover, she said, ‘You know, Mark, I don’t like going down to the National Cemetery,’ where their son is buried. ‘It’s kind of depressing. But I can go to Aldridge Gardens, or I can go to Trussville and sit there and reflect.’ It’s hallowed ground in Trussville.”

For Davis, remembering Alabama’s fallen soldiers has been a goal of his for some time. His non-profit organization has funded sculptures of soldiers in Hoover, Mobile, Gulf Shores and Tuscaloosa. But Davis says since the idea of the monument emerged in 2017, he strived to do more.

“Busby and I were building bronze busts for Alabama Fallen Warriors [Project] and that only recognizes an individual and can go to their home, school, chamber of commerce or church,” he said. “It just hit me one day. I need to do more to honor all men and women who have died since 9/11.”

The monument was initially accepted for construction in Hoover before making its final home in Trussville in 2021. When construction began in late 2021, delays emerged due to bad soil. Delays emerged again last summer due to supply chain issues.

Davis said now that the monument is completed, it will make Alabama a leading example for the rest of the country.

“This monument shows that the state of Alabama backs all of our military service members,” he said. “We have at least one veteran from every county. This will be a destination point for everybody from the state of Alabama. But I also think that we’ll have other states come to us and say, ‘Why did you build your monument? How did you build it?’ I think the vision of what I had will expand outside the state.”

And the monument has room for expansion. While six bronze busts of soldiers will be unveiled on Monday, there is room for a total of 20 busts. If more than 20 busts are built, there is additional room to house them around the monument. Davis said he hopes this is the first large-scale monument of many for the state of Alabama and its veterans.

Joshua LeBerte is a news intern for Alabama Public Radio.
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