It’s only fitting to write about Monument Terrace on Veteran’ Day. Everyday, Monument Terrace pays tribute to those Lynchburg residents who gave their lives defending our freedoms. Today, November 11th, Veterans Day there will be a ceremony at the foot of Monument Terrace allowing us reflect on the freedoms we enjoy and the costs of those freedoms.
There wasn’t always a Monument Terrace; originally it was a dirt path that connected Court House Hill (site of the original court house, now the Lynchburg Museum) to what is now 9th Street. In 1882 August Forsberg designed stone steps, a plaza and a fountain to be placed at the base (now Church and 9th Street). In 1883 five volunteer fireman lost their lives and statue of a fireman was placed on top of a fountain with water pouring from the nozzle of his hose. That statue stood there until 1924.
Today’s Monument Terrace was completed in 1925 and it was intended to be a monument to those who fought and lost their lives in the first World War (1917-1918). Since then other monuments have been constructed to honor those local heroes from other wars. There are 132 steps taking you from Church Street to Court Street. Along the way there are 10 landings and 11 markers and monuments along the terrace. Eight of the markers are devoted to military service and three commemorate civic milestones. Today there are monuments to honor those who lost their lives in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Additionally there is a POW-MIA Monument and a Purple Heart Monument.
In addition to these monuments, every Friday since 2001 from noon-1:00 a group of citizens gather at the foot of Monument Terrace to demonstrate openly their support for the men and women who serve the United States in its military services.
In the event you are unable to visit Monument Terrace I have posted a few photos below of some of the monuments.
I started with the Vietnam Memorial because I wanted to honor those troops who were not well respected when they returned from the war.
The Korean War is the forgotten war. Lynchburg like lots of towns and cities across this nation lost troops in this far off place.
It was only after we had World War II that this memorial was called a memorial to those who died in World War I. Let’s hope we never see another World War! This monument is at the foot of Monument Terrace at the intersection of 9th Street and Church Street.
A tribute to “The Greatest Generation.” Unfortunately the memorial had to be on two different walls due to the high number of causalities. The National D-Day Memorial is just 20 minutes west of Lynchburg and is also a must see to those who fought on the Beaches of Normandy towards the end of World War II.
Unfortunately, The Spanish American War is just a foot note in many history books. Monument Terrace pays tribute to those Americans that fought in this war.
For those of you who haven’t visited the Lynchburg area, we are only 20 minutes from Appomattox Courthouse where the country was reunited almost 149 years ago. It is worth the trip to visit this national park.
The origin of the Purple Heart Medal dates back to the American Revolution. The medal that is used today is given to those wounded or killed in time of war and was established in 1932. Unfortunately, it is estimated that more than 1.7 million medals have been given out since 1932.
This monument is to honor those that were held as a Prisoner of War (POW) or those that never returned from the war, Missing in Action (MIA).
I hope that all of us takes a moment to remember our Armed Forces, both current and past. Veteran’s Day is more than just a day off or a time to go shopping at the mall. If you have a reason to visit Central Virginia, I would hope you carve out time to visit Monument Terrace, The Old City Cemetery, The National D-Day Memorial, Appomattox Courthouse and the Museum of the Confederacy. There are many other interesting places to visit and things to do, but on this Veteran’s Day lets focus on these venues. Today at 10:30am there will be a ceremony at the base of Monument Terrace. Church Street will be closed during the event.
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