Man's dream to build memorial to honor veterans remains alive despite setbacks

Central Veterans Memorial taking a little longer to be completed

CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - Two years ago, a man in Central started work on a memorial for veterans with hopes to not only honor the men and women who served, but also provide a place where students can see the names of people who gave their lives for the country.

Work on the project has slowed somewhat. Charles Lee Hinton, the man who dreamed about the memorial, says setbacks due to permit issues are the problem. He hopes to have things resolved by the end of the week. Despite the hiccup, people continue to donate and have done so since he made his dream known.

Hinton said he envisioned the project would be at the site of the old Central Middle School. After speaking with school board officials, the land across from the old school was donated for the memorial. Several other businesses stepped forward as well, donating their time, materials and labor.

Hinton said though it's called the Central Veterans Memorial, it doesn't just belong to the people in the city.

"This is a memorial that's being dedicated to every veteran that's ever served this country," Hinton said.

Hinton is also a veteran, having served 20 years in the United States Navy. He said the memorial will have brick pavers, which people can put a veteran's name on. There will also be flags to honor each branch of the military, as well as six monuments to honor each of those branches, women who served, animals who served and one monument to honor any resident of Central who was killed in action.

"We sometimes take a lot for granted and we just don't really think about what price had to be paid for me to have the freedom that I have," Hinton added.

Behind the memorial will be a pavilion, where students from all around the parish can go to learn more about past wars and current conflicts. Once the memorial is complete, Hinton said the Central Veterans Helping Veterans organization plans to invite veterans from all around to see what's been done in their honor.

"When we raise that red, white and blue flag. When the military flag goes up, knowing you've been a part of keeping the country safe, yeah, that's something to be proud of. Stand tall," Hinton explained.

A name that will be on one of the monuments is Homer Wise, a Central resident who was given the Medal of Honor, the highest military award given for acts above and beyond the call of duty.

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