Honoring the Fallen
TRUSSVILLE, Ala. (WBRC) - Friday, November 11 is Veteran’s Day and Mark Davis is a Veteran with a heart for helping. In 2008 he started ‘Vettes 4 Vets, a which has raised over 600-thousand dollars to help Veterans and their families. In 2016 along with retired Marine Colonel Lee Busby he formed the Alabama Fallen Warriors Project, but it was a project in search of a home.
Now, the City of Trussville has given them one which will be dedicated December 18 on Wreaths Across America Day. According to Davis, “What Colonel Busby does, he gets the two-dimensional pictures of the service member both in his uniform and out. Creates a clay model. The family comes in. They review it two or three times. Once they say it’s good; matter of fact, what Colonel Busby says. When you see tears coming down their eyes, the mother’s eyes, you know you got it.”
Veteran’s Park in Trussville is a place that already honors those who served our country in time of war and peace, but soon there will be an important addition honoring those who gave what Lincoln called The Last Full Measure. Davis explains, “The family decides where the bust goes. Jerome Merkerson, a Marine, got killed in action. He was from Adger, Alabama, and his mother said, Mark. Nobody’s going to come to Adger, Alabama to see my son’s bust. So, that’s the genesis of how I came up with the idea of the monument.”
Trussville Mayor Buddy Choat remembers, “Mark came out and spoke to our council one night and kind of expressed a vision he had, already had it in the works and just wanted to know if Trussville would be interested in partnering with him, and the council was unanimous. Yes, we want to do this. Tell us what do we have to do. Where do we start? Once we reached out in our community to contractors, people that wanted to be a part of it, I think Mark would tell you it was overwhelming at the support that we got from people that wanted to donate and do something toward this monument.”
Davis says the location is in keeping with the vision of the project. “We want to make it a place of honor. Where somebody can come here and sit and reminisce and see their son or daughter or their father or their mother who served during the war.”
In addition to the busts, there will be a reminder, “When a Veteran is killed, a military service member is killed in action, they take his rifle. They stick it in the ground. They take his boots and put it at the base, and then they take his helmet and lay it on top of that. So that will be at the base of the American flag and that represents those guys who were killed in action,” says Davis.
Mayor Choat believes strongly in the project, “It’s personal to me, but I hope it’s more personal to everyone else, too, so we can, as Mark says, ‘Never forget’“.
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