The Alamance County War Memorial is dedicated to the various soldiers of Alamance County. It is located in front of the Alamance County courthouse in the city of Graham. The memorial honors the soldiers who were killed in five different wars. The five wars mentioned are the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War One, World War Two, Korean War, Vietnam War and most recently the multiple Middle Eastern Conflicts. Hundreds of names are inscribed in the monument and the majority of names fall under the Civil War and World War Two sections. Alamance County has over nine different war memorials and other memorials but the memorial located in Graham is one of the most well-known, because of its central location.
The war memorial was dedicated to these soldiers on May 27th 1996. It was created by Broad River Granite, and costs a total of sixty-five thousand dollars. The monument was not financed by the government; instead, it was directed by W.B Teague and funded by the Alamance County War Memorial committee. The fact that the War Committee did not ask for government funds was viewed as a positive by the community, and the memorial had a lot of support from different residents and organizations throughout the county. The memorial is seen as a pillar of pride in the community, due to it's courageous soldiers. One of the main reasons for this shared positivity would because it was paid for by the people Alamance County to pay respect to soldiers from their community.
The memorial itself is a large rectangular structure honoring the deceased soldiers of Alamance County. A tall inscribed piece of granite makes up the majority of this memorial. On the sides of the large slab there are two smaller granite slabs that also have inscriptions honoring the deceased soldiers. Behind the granite slabs there are three flags; one for Alamance County, one for the United States of America, and one for the state of North Carolina. The center slab is inscribed with the following words: “This memorial is dedicated / to the honor of all the / brave men and women of / Alamance County who fought/ in service to their country / and in memory of those / inscribed here who died in/ defense of pure freedom. /Erected 1996/ by the citizens of Alamance County” On the back of the memorial the names of those who helped finance and construct the memorial are inscribed into the main granite block. The people and organizations that contributed to this memorial are quite extensive, with money coming from local companies such as CCB and Graham Savings Bank to larger companies such as Labcorp. This memorial is a great example of a small community rallying behind a common cause, and to always remember pay respect to members of their community who have given back to others.
This war memorial is considered to be the “main” memorial in the county, and every year citizens come out on Memorial Day to honor the soldiers who have given their lives. Throughout the year people routinely place flowers and other items in front of the memorial as a sign of respect and appreciation. However, not all the citizens of Alamance County share the same kind of respect. On May 2nd 2011 the man in charge of maintaining the memorial noticed that the memorial had been defaced. It appeared that someone had poured hot grease onto the memorial, specifically targeting the names that were under the USS Liberty attack and Middle East Conflict sections. Authorities believe this was an act of revenge because it happened less than 24 hours after President Obama announced the death of Osama Bin Laden. Authorities immediately began an investigation, and began checking the courthouse survillance tapes, trying to identify who was responsible. So far the person responsible has not been identified, and it’s not clear if the authorities in Alamance County are still pursuing the case.
Don Bolden has been noted as the pioneer behind the memorial. Bolden is an influential member of the community, who has been actively seeking to improve Alamance County throughout much of his life. In honor for his work, particularly with the war memorial, the county has made a time capsule that is set to be opened in April 24th 2049. The inspiration for this memorial came to Bolden after his work with Winter of Warriors. This was a program set up by Bolden himself. The purpose of the program was to raise awareness and pay respect to the soldiers of Alamance county who had given their lives for their country. Bolden gave a speech were he stated that “It wasn’t long before families began receiving telegrams of the deaths of loved ones. A memorial was erected at May Memorial Library in the early 1940s to honor the fallen soldiers and their families. Names would continue to be added before the war’s end.
“We began to take special notice of the golden stars that were beginning to appear across the community,” said Bolden, “If a family had a loved one in service, there was a blue star on the little flag hanging in the window. But in the event that an individual died in the war, the star turned to gold.” This quote makes it easy to understand why Dan Bolden felt the way that he did, and why so much of his life was focused around those who protect us. Alamance County was going through a rough patch during World War II and many families were affected not only by the war but by polio which was causing deaths throughout the county. The memorial represents a time when the whole community was struggling, and through the memorial, those harsh times won’t be forgotten, but rather embraced. Also the community can look back at what they’ve accomplished in the times that have past and it serves as a reminder of what it took to get to the state the county is in today and the fact that the power lays in the people’s hands.
- Boyer, Robert. "Hundreds Gather to Honor Fallen Veterans," The Times-News (Burlington, NC), (accessed August 28, 2012)
- "Memorial Honors Alamance County's Men and Women of the Armed Forces," The Times-News(Burlington, NC), May 27, 2007, (accessed March 22, 2012)
- Papandrea, Roselee. "Authorities Investigating Defacing of War Memorial," The Times-News(Burlington, NC), (accessed August 28, 2012)
- "This Memorial Day is Special in Our History," The Times-News (Burlington, NC), May 27, 1996