THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Wednesday, May 29, 1996 TAG: 9605290414 SECTION: MILITARY NEWS PAGE: A6 EDITION: FINAL SOURCE: BY ALVA CHOPP, CORRESPONDENT LENGTH: 74 lines
During a brief pause in fighting in the Korean War, Sam Jones took a moment to write to his wife, Marianna, halfway around the world. He told her of the horrors of war and his feelings of hopelessness in the seeming inevitability of conflict.
Sam Jones died three days later on the battlefield.
Letters like his and those of others who lost their lives in America's battles will be the focal point of Norfolk's new ``Armed Forces Memorial,'' to be erected in Town Point Park. Dedication is scheduled for Memorial Day next year.
The memorial is the result of a $500,000 bequest to the city by John R. Burton Jr., who spent his life striving to improve relations between service members and local residents.
Burton was known for organizing homecoming parties for returning troops. He also established an endowment to honor outstanding members of the armed forces through the ``Sailor of the Month'' and ``Sailor of the Year'' awards. They continue today through the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce's Armed Forces Committee.
Norfolk Councilman and physician, Mason Andrews, who chaired the memorial's selection committee, said Burton requested the memorial be near downtown - easily accessible to the public but suitable for quiet contemplation.
Town Point Park, adjacent to Nauticus, seemed best.
A citizens' advisory committee helped the city choose James Cutler Architects and Maggie Smith, visual artist, both of Bainbridge Island in Seattle, Wash., as the memorial's designers.
In their design, 20 bronze-cast letters from servicemen will be scattered at the base of a flagpole centered in the 160-foot square monument.
The lawn will be bordered by a stone wall bearing a quotation from Abraham Lincoln (``Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us, to the end, dare do our duty as we understand it'').
A pair of footbridges will link the memorial to the adjacent park. The waterfront border will resemble a fort's facade.
Maggie Smith said neither she nor James Cutler were interested in designing the type of heroic sculpture traditionally used in this country. ``I have a strong tradition of using words on memorials and I wanted to work with the words of the people themselves (who lost their lives),'' she said.
Smith decided to let the fallen veterans speak for themselves.
``We felt this design was a way of going back to the people commemorated; a way to have them still communicate with the people of the future,'' she said. ``I liked the aspect of looking at all U.S. wars and not just one.''
To add to the diversity of the memorial, the designers are requesting permission from families across the country to include letters from service members who did not return from battle.
Smith said she would most like to see letters that speak of battle or camp conditions, philosophy of war or personal experiences. They could include the emotions of missing family and friends far away and their thoughts and feelings about entering the next battle.
She wants to bring the war-time experience into public focus - to make it very individual and touch the emotions of the viewers.
Councilman Andrews agrees: ``The mission of this is to not forget the sacrifices of the men and women who died but also those that had massive changes in their lives as a result.
``We hope this memorial brings a sense of reverence and I hope an appreciation of the sacrifice these people made.''
Anyone interested in contributing letters to be considered for the memorial should contact Norfolk's Department of Public Works at 664-4600 or write for a release form to Norfolk Armed Forces Memorial, in care of Division of Planning, City of Norfolk, 508 City Hall Building, Norfolk, Va. 23510. ILLUSTRATION: This is a preliminary design of the planned Armed
Forces Memorial, scheduled to be dedicated at Town Point Park in
Norfolk next Memorial Day. Bronze-cast letters from servicemen will
be scattered at the base of a flagpole centered in the
160-foot-square monument, adjacent to Nauticus. by CNB