Memorial to be Built in World's Fair Park

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Memorial to be Built in World's Fair Park

Posted: 01/27/2006
A memorial to fallen veterans from 35 East Tennessee counties will be built in World's Fair Park, Mayor Bill Haslam and leaders of the East Tennessee Veterans Association announced today.

 More than 5400 names of the dead from World War I through the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will be inscribed in granite on a series of monuments that will comprise the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial. The $2.1 million Memorial will also give special recognition to the 13 Medal of Honor winners from the region.

Mayor Haslam announced that the memorial is expected to built on an 8,000 square-foot-plot in the north end of World's Fair Park next to the Butcher Shop Restaurant and near the old L&N Railroad Station. Pending City Council approval, the City will lease the plot to the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association for 25 years, with an option to extend the lease for another 25 years, and to maintain the memorial. "The Memorial is an important addition to World's Fair Park and our City - a place that will serve to remind and educate us about the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf," Mayor Haslam said. "Our East Tennessee fallen veterans should be remembered and honored for their service to our country, and this memorial is a fitting way to do that. I'm pleased on behalf of the City of Knoxville to pledge this central and beautiful location for the memorial."About 220,000 veterans live in the 35 counties the Memorial will represent -- from Hamilton County (Chattanooga) on the south to Sullivan County (Bristol) to the north; from the North Carolina line to the east to the Cumberland Plateau to the west. A companion facility, the Veterans History Center that will chronicle the service of all East Tennessee veterans - living and deceased, past, present and future - will be established at a nearby location and operated by the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association. Every veteran from the region will be eligible for a biographical file in the Center's electronic archives. The Center's programs will interpret the meaning of their service to the nation's security and overall well being.Total estimated cost of establishing the two facilities and creating an endowment for the Veterans History Center is estimated at $4.2 million, not including the City of Knoxville's contribution of free use of the land in Worlds Fair Park and maintenance. At the request of County Mayor Mike Ragsdale, Knox County Commission has approved plans to contribute $1.25 million to the project. U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan, with the help of Senators Bill Frist and Lamar Alexander, has obtained approval for $475,000 in Federal funds. A campaign to raise $2.5 million in private donations will be launched to make the twin facilities a reality.

Ground breaking for the Memorial is tentatively scheduled for Veterans Day of 2006 with completion and dedication targeted for Veterans Day of 2007. Opening of the
Veterans History Center, possibly located in the L&N Station building, will follow when
Sufficient funds have been raised.The 35 counties represented by the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial and the Veterans History Center are: Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Claiborne, Carter, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hancock, Hamilton, Hamblen, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Loudon, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Polk, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union and Washington.

The Memorial

The Memorial will have 32 solid granite pylons, each of them nine feet high, three feet wide and one foot deep. Names of the fallen will be inscribed on the pylons up to a height of 54 inches from the ground, making the names accessible for touching by all visitors including those in wheel chairs.Each pylon will contain about 175 names. Letters will be approximately a half inch high. Names will be sorted by conflict and further sorted by county within each conflict. Names will be randomly listed (non-alphabetical, non-chronological) within each county. Names of each of the Medal of Honor winners from the region will be inscribed on the opposite side of one of the pylons.A three-foot long granite bench will be placed opposite each pylon for seated observation and contemplation. Walkways within the Memorial will also be granite.

A circular plaza that will form the entrance to the Memorial will feature an American flag on a 50-foot pole. Since the Memorial will be lighted at night, the flag will fly 24 hours a day. Another feature will be a 27-foot high bell tower. On each of the four sides of the tower will be inscribed one of the Four Essential Freedoms as enunciated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a speech to Congress on Jan. 6, 1941 - freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Veterans History Center

In addition to documenting and interpreting the significance of the service of veterans from the 35 counties, the Veterans History Center will:

Create detailed files on the 5400 fallen veterans whose names are inscribed on the Monument, and the 13 Medal of Honor winners.

Compile other lists of veterans' accomplishments and honors, such as winners of all other major categories of combat related awards.

Serve as a depository of the life stories, military records and oral histories of all veterans, living and deceased, and those who served in peacetime as well as during wars or conflicts. Any veteran or family member will be able to create and contribute to a historical file on that service person in the Center's electronic archives.

Provide a forum for the discussion of veterans and other issues related to military service.

Host traveling exhibits on military and patriotic subjects from prestigious sources such as the Smithsonian Institution. The Center will include a theater, computer kiosks and exhibits.

The Names

Names of the more than 5400 fallen veterans from the region are being compiled and certified for accuracy by the UT Center for the Study of War and Society under a contract with ETVMA. The process involves cross checking lists from the Federal and State governments with the records and monuments in each of the counties and adjusting duplications and omissions. On completion of the process, the final lists will be made available for public review before the pylons for the Memorial are inscribed. Names will be released to media outlets in each county. The complete list will appear on Memorial was designed by architect Lee Ingram of the Knoxville firm Brewer Ingram Fuller, in collaboration with landscape architect Mike Fowler of Ross/Fowler of Knoxville

For more information on East Tennessee Veterans Memorial and the Veterans History Center - how to contribute, personal stories of some of the fallen, and color illustrations of the Memorial site, its monuments and other structures, go to or call 865-633-8337. ETVMA welcomes the opportunity to make a presentation to clubs, businesses and other groups.