There’s no better time than Thanksgiving to remember and honor the veterans of our nation. North and South Carolina both offer a number of interesting monuments and historical sites to discover.
, in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor, is one of the most well known symbols of the Civil War; the Confederate Army opened fire on this fort on April 12, 1861, effectively throwing the entire nation into a state of war. Visitors can learn about how the fort and island were constructed at Fort Sumter’s museum exhibits, as well as learn about the events leading up to and following the first attacks of the Civil War. Fort rangers offer a 10-minute history talk before visitors embark on their own self-guided tours. Those who don’t want to take the ferry ride out to the fort can still see and learn about it at the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square. Find directions and additional information at www.nps.gov/fosu/index.htm.
In Columbia, South Carolina, Memorial Park visitors can honor fallen servicemen and women at three war monuments: The Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the World War I Memorial. In addition, four other memorials can be seen in the park including one dedicated to the USS Columbia and a Pearl Harbor Memorial. South Carolina’s Vietnam Memorial is considered one of the nation’s largest; honoring 980 South Carolinians who gave their lives in the war in Vietnam, the monument is made of two freestanding walls of granite inscribed with names, flanking a pylon carved with motifs portraying each military branch’s contributions. Memorial Park was dedicated in 1986, in conjunction with the unveiling of the Vietnam Memorial. Find pictures of each of the monuments, as well as their dedication dates, at www.columbiasouthcarolina.com/memorialpark.html.
The North Carolina Korean War Veteran’s Memorial is a unique work-in-progress located in Mint Hill, just southeast of Charlotte, North Carolina. The monument is being constructed in five phases, the first of which has been completed. The monument will honor the 789 North Carolina veterans that were either missing or killed in action during the Korean War. For an informative breakdown of the monument’s meaning and updates on construction, visit www.koreanwarmemorialnc.com.
Fort Bragg, North Carolina, located northwest of Fayetteville, is home to the 82nd Airborne Division Museum. The 82nd Airborne Division was organized in 1917 and nicknamed the “All-American Division” because it was made up of soldiers from all over the country. The museum honors these paratroopers by “collecting, preserving and interpreting” the Division’s history from World War I to the present. Current exhibits on display include World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Desert Shield/Storm and others; visitors will enjoy looking at the paratrooper artifacts including military aircraft found on the grounds of the museum. Learn about the Division’s history and find museum hours and other information at www.82ndairbornedivisionmuseum.com.
As you gather with friends and family from near and far this season, take time to reflect upon the sacrifices so many men and women have made to keep this country safe.