Veteran's park construction underway

FAYETTEVILLE With the dipping of shovels and the tossing of a little dirt, city, county and state leaders kicked off construction Thursday near the Airborne and Special Operations Museum on the new state veterans' park.

The $14 million project is being paid for with a state grant.

The ceremony was simple - a color guard with flags waving in the wind and salutes from proud veterans who came to see the beginning of a state park to honor all vets.

Edward Middleton from the 30th Infantry Division out of North Carolina, who fought during World War II, attended the event.

"I went ashore on Omaha Beach in the third day … was in all the battles clear up to when we met the Russians at Magda Burg, Germany," Middleton said. "In fact, 65 years ago we were involved in the Battle of the Bulge."

Several things will be built during the first phase of the project, including a pedestrian trail, a flag court and a 3,500 square foot visitor's center.

"It's not far for anyone to come to that's here in North Carolina and it's a very well taken care of area," Veteran Roland Rochester said.

When the park is completed it will include things from all over the state.

"There will be palm prints from veterans all over the state, where they literally put their hands in something that will preserve the print," Senator Margaret Dickson said. "Plants and materials, trees, shrubs, flowers from all over the state."

The park is scheduled to open next year on the Fourth of July.

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