Field of Honor edges closer to reality
Carolina Field of Honor has become a labor of love for Jim Burgio.
Now with another Memorial Day approaching, he and other supporters of the memorial at Triad Park are eagerly awaiting the start of construction that could lead to a 2014 dedication.
Supporters, who have worked through the War Memorial Foundation in Greensboro since 2010, have raised $4 million of the $5 million needed.
“We have about $800,000 left to go,” said Burgio, a former U.S. Marine who leads project fundraising. “Timing is the great question. We need the rest of the money, and we are working hard to raise it. We decided not to use a professional fundraising group. They said it would be a five-year project. We wanted to get started sooner.”
Government pledges from 2012 include $95,000 from Winston-Salem, $112,000 from Greensboro and $43,000 from High Point. The War Memorial Foundation also is seeking support from the General Assembly.
Meanwhile, the project is moving toward construction with a slightly updated plan.
“This memorial will be a feather in the cap for the Triad,” Burgio said. “It will be the largest memorial outside of Washington, D.C., and with this location off Interstate 40, it will attract thousands of visitors.”
Carolina Field of Honor is designed to rival memorials in Washington. The 8.5-acre site will offer a 60-foot-tall, 106-ton granite obelisk similar to the Washington Monument and a parade deck for ceremonies. The obelisk will be surrounded by a water feature with granite stones encircling it with the flag of each armed forces branch. Each branch will have a section marked by 10-foot obelisks.
“The water feature is much more sophisticated than we planned before,” Burgio said.
The entrance will be highlighted by 13 American flags that were used in different periods of the nation’s history. A Remembrance Brick Walkway will have granite pavers in honor of a veteran loved one.
“Some families are buying several for all the veterans in their families,” Burgio said.
Dedication plans are as grand as the planned memorials.
More than 150,000 veterans live in the Triad, the largest regional concentration in the state. May also is Military Appreciation Month in North Carolina.
“We want to get nationally known people to speak here, like Gen. Colin Powell,” Burgio said.
Powell, a former U.S. Secretary of State, is a leading speaker at veterans events, including the national Memorial Day ceremony in Washington.
Burgio said he did not think of his Vietnam War service and honoring veterans much for 40 years.
“Then, after I went to a reunion at (Marine Corps Base) Quantico for my officers class of 1967, I got involved in this,” said Burgio, who also is chairman and CEO of Advanced Technologies.
Burgio supervised mechanics in a transportation pool and also was a linguist while in Vietnam.
Supporters say changing public attitudes on honoring veterans have made the memorial possible. With the flags, monuments, band concerts and displays, a major part of the memorial will be about education. Kiosks will offer detailed military histories.
“Any organization that has a connection to the military will have an opportunity to have a presence here,” Burgio said.
“I want this to be a legacy for my grandchildren,” Burgio said.
“This will be a dream come true for us,” said Bill Moss, a fundraiser leader and former Marine. “It will be a leading example of regionalism and cooperation between the two counties.”
Triad Park, located between Greensboro and Winston-Salem on E. Mountain Street, is owned by Guilford and Forsyth counties, both of which support the project. An amphitheater also is planned for the park.
“The theater will be a big part of the memorial,” Burgio said. “The park is developing that for us to use.”
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Carolina Field of Honor
Design: Woolpert Design.
Planning: The Technical Review committees of Guilford and Forsyth counties have examined project plans.
Contractor: The general contractor HICAPS, Inc. has completed a pre-bid process.
Memorial Brick Program: Starting at $200, engraved bricks, honoring living or dead loved ones who served, will be used in various memorial walkways. Donors can specify a branch of the service and a brick location. Donors will be able to go online to find their brick locations.
Chairman’s Club: For donations of more than $10,000.
National Defense Donors: Levels of Support rank from Distinguished Service Supporter at $5,000 and Silver Star at $2,500 and Bronze Star at $1,000; The Order of the Purple Heart Supporter is $500 and Meritorious Service Supporter is $250. Unit Citation Supporter is $100 and Good Conduct Supporter up to $99;
Recognitions: Donations of $1,000 to $5,000 will be recognized with a plaque on the Wall of Support at the Park and on at least one engraved brick and on the memorial website. Contributions of $99 to $250 will be recognized on the memorial website while gifts of $250 to $500 will be recognized at the park and on the website.
Orders: Visit www.ncwmf.org using PayPal, or by mail to The War Memorial Foundation, 600 N. Regional Road, Greensboro, NC 27409
Phone: (336) 851-0999