A new monument will replace the cracked, and costly, eternal flame veterans’ memorial in front of the historic Pulaski County Courthouse.
Pulaski County Board of Supervisors voted Monday night to approve a new memorial design recommended by a committee appointed to decide what to do about the existing memorial. The vote means the county can now move forward with getting the new monument carved and installed.
A date for completion has not been determined.
A little over a year ago, Pulaski County veteran George Rash expressed concern about the condition of the eternal flame veterans’ memorial in front of the old section of the courthouse. He asked the supervisors to make it a priority to have the existing memorial repaired.
However, when it was revealed the gas bill for the existing flame was costing the county as much as $800 per month, and that the constant heating and cooling of the stone surrounding the flame would most likely cause it to crack again, the county decided to have a committee look into an alternative memorial.
The one approved Monday night will be fashioned similar to the Bowman War Memorial in Bowman, S.C., which stands roughly six feet tall, is constructed of stone and bears an eternal flame lantern on top.
Assistant County Administrator Robert Hiss said the committee “looked at lots of different samples” of monuments, but finally reached a consensus to go with one similar to the Bowman War Memorial.
“They liked the simplicity and the use of rock similar to the stone on the courthouse,” he told the supervisors.
While the Bowman memorial is constructed of a smooth, polished stone, Hiss said the committee decided to have the local memorial constructed out of a rough stone that would match the courthouse. Although the lantern will still have a gas-fed flame, Hiss said the estimated monthly cost should be around $100 to $150.
Hiss said earlier that the flame on the existing memorial was costing the county so much because the gas was kept at maximum output to keep the wind from extinguishing the flame. After the monthly bill came to light, he said the county turned back the flame enough to get the bill down to $300 to $400 per month, but the flame is having to be relit occasionally.
Since the new flame will be inside a lantern, the weather should not pose a problem.
As long as there are no copyright issues, the monument also will bear a bronze plaque inscribed, “Dedicated to all veterans past, present and future. We remain free because of your sacrifice.”
The bronze plaque will be fixed into the stone.
Of the proposal, Robinson District Supervisor Robert Bopp said, “It’s simple, but it gets the message across.”
A motion by Ingles District Supervisors Ranny Akers to move forward with the proposal passed unanimously.
Supervisors Chairman Joe Sheffey asked county staff to send a letter to all members of the committee, thanking them for their efforts on behalf of the county.