JACKSON — On Nov. 10, 2001, many people will come together in downtown Jackson to witness the dedication of the Mississippi Veterans Monument — the culmination of the hard work of many different people.
The monument, one wall of which has already been completed, will honor all veterans and consists of primarily three walls. A curved red, white and blue granite wall called the “flag wall” is representative of the U.S. flag. It is abstracted and curved as if in motion and intersects with a polished black granite wall five feet tall by 60 feet long. The oath of military service, something common to all veterans, is etched into the black wall.
Sam Gore, a professor at Mississippi College, designed a bronze statue in front of the wall.
The statue depicts a man holding his daughter or granddaughter in one arm and a duffel bag in the other and gesturing to the wall, explaining to her the meaning of it.
“This man symbolizes either a Mississippian leaving to go into service or just going into duty,” said Bud Hollomon of Hollomon Architects who formed a joint venture with architect Mark Vaughan to create the monument.
A fourth piece, a three-foot wide by nine-foot tall piece of polished black granite, was recently added to the wall. On it are the names of 18 Mississippians who received the Congressional Medal of Honor, as well as a huge medal cast in bronze. It will be draped around a pylon as if it hangs around a soldier’s neck. A granite pad at the base has a statement etched into it that is read to all those who receive the medal.
Bobby DeMoney, president and owner of the Money Tile, obtained the stone for the job and did drawings of what it was to look like upon completion.
“It’s a pretty prestigious job,” he said. “We may not make any money on it but at least I’ll say I was part of it.”
After bidding on the project and finally winning the bid, DeMoney and his business began the long process of selecting materials and doing shop drawings. The Cold Spring Granite Company out of Minnesota was the broker for the granite.
Around the memorial is extensive landscaping, which features red maples around the edge and shrubbery that will change color with the seasons.
“We wanted the memorial not to be static but always changing and having a different face about it as the seasons change,” Hollomon said.
“It’s probably the only one (monument) like it in America, I would say, especially the wall that’s shaped like the flag with red, white and blue granite,” DeMoney said.
The pieces used in the construction of the monument are solid granite that in some cases are as much as six inches thick. It took the Money Group a month before all the shop drawings were approved so that the granite could be ordered.
“It’s quite a lengthy process,” DeMoney said. “Stone is not something you can go out and whittle on. It has to be cut right. It took the cooperation of everyone.”
Mayrant and Associates, LLC, are the contractors for the monument. Al Kabelac, president of the company, said winter and weather were two things that made the project a difficult one.
“It’s delayed the job some,” he said.
Regardless of the delay, Kabelac is proud to be a part of the construction process. “We looked and still look forward to completing it and letting the public come view it,” he said.
The State of Mississippi is providing the funding for the Mississippi Veterans Monument. The construction budget was $750,000 and said Hollomon, “We’ve spent just about all of it.”
“Mark Vaughan and I, anytime we can create a design that honors a lot of people and honors deeds and acts by very heroic individuals, that’s quite an honor,” Hollomon said. “Memorials, unlike buildings, are built to withstand the tests of time. I wish I could be around 100 years to see this project.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1042.