2 new monuments added to Etowah County Patriots' Park - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

2 new monuments added to Etowah County Patriots' Park

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The Purple Heart monument was unveiled on Memorial Day in Gadsden. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC The Purple Heart monument was unveiled on Memorial Day in Gadsden. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC
The new Iraq and Afghanistan plaque was unveiled on Monday. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC The new Iraq and Afghanistan plaque was unveiled on Monday. Source: Dixon Hayes/WBRC
ETOWAH COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

Etowah County residents who attended a Memorial Day ceremony in Gadsden on Monday got a first glimpse at two new monuments in Ola Lee Mize Patriots' Park.

Members of the Patriots' Association unveiled a plaque devoted to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The top portion shows the rugged terrain of Afghanistan, while the bottom portion shows the iconic image of the Saddam Hussein statue being toppled in Baghdad.

"They are just as equal to any other veteran that ever served and put on a uniform," Rick Vaughn, chairman of the Patriots Assocation, said.

"Doesn't make any difference where they were or how they served. Anybody that goes and stands under that red, white and blue flag serves their country, are equal," Vaughn added.

The second monument is known as the Purple Heart Monument. It shows a Purple Heart Medal, with George Washington's picture on it, against black granite.

"We had a lot of young men that came back from Vietnam and other wars, that had wounds that they received in the war, and that later on took their life," Vaughn explained.

"By the bylaws, their name could not be placed on the war memorial because they were not killed in action. So now, we can put their names on a brick, going to that purple heart monument, honoring them for their service."

Vaughn says the Purple Heart monument may be the first of its kind in the state and he was told by workers at a Birmingham monument company it was the first one they'd ever seen.

More than 100 residents turned out at Patriots' Park for the ceremony. Patriots' Park includes several memorials as well as a ship's anchor, Howizter guns and a tank, to remember all branches of the military in all wars.

Vaughn says the group is negotiating to get an old Army helicopter which is now parked at Fort McClellan in Anniston.

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