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thedrifter
07-31-08, 05:55 AM
Monument's future worries soldier's family
By MELINDA SKUTNICK
Mooresville Tribune
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A downtown monument to U.S. Marines killed in a 1983 terrorist attack in Beirut, including Lance Corporal Timothy McNeely of Mooresville, will be relocated from John Franklin Moore Park to the town’s War Memorial building -- to the dismay of McNeely’s family.

October will mark the 25th anniversary of the Beirut barracks bombing that killed hundreds of servicemen, the majority of whom were U.S. Marines. Following the incident, McNeely’s family and others across North Carolina sponsored the purchase of a monument honoring 21 soldiers who died in Lebanon in 1983 and 1984.

“Lest we forget that peace has a price,” reads the monument, which was erected in the small park between Main and Broad streets, on downtown's south end.

And as the anniversary of this event nears, discussion of moving the monument from its current location to the War Memorial recreation center on Maple Street -- where it will eventually become one of several tributes to Mooresville-area veterans and active-duty soldiers -- has created anger within the McNeely family.

“Why change something that’s that set in stone?” said McNeely’s sister, Vickie Brawley.

“It was something that was dedicated in honor and in memory and with a lot of emotion, and to try and change it just throws me into an emotional loop because I don’t know how to deal with it.”

Brawley and her mother, the last two surviving members of McNeely’s immediate family, heard about the monument’s relocation as the result of a misunderstanding, said Brawley. If the “accidental phone call” had not occurred, Brawley said she and her mother might still be in the dark about the move.

“If they move it, we have to accept it and we have to go on,” Brawley added, noting nobody has contacted her family with information concerning the monument. “If they decide to do it, I’ll hate it for the rest of my life and I’ll never forgive the people on these committees.”

As part of the continuing construction on John Franklin Moore Park, the Mooresville Beautification Committee decided upon creating the park’s design to relocate the Beirut monument to the War Memorial building where it will become a piece of a planned Veterans Memorial Serenity Garden, said Beautification Committee Chairman Joe Cullen.

“Somewhere down the road, it will probably move,” said Cullen.

“Most people that live here … don’t know anything about the memorial,” he added, noting that the Serenity Garden will provide visitors with the “back story” about the monument and who it honors.

“It will be alongside the other memorials that will be in the Serenity Garden” which will be located adjacent to the War Memorial facility on Maple Street, Cullen mentioned.

Cullen said that unfortunately, the McNeely family was “caught off guard” when told about the relocation because the speed in which the park’s construction began overran plans to discuss the move with the McNeelys.

“When we’re finished (with the garden), I think the family will be very pleased,” he said.

Brawley and her mother, however, are not as confident.

“That monument has sat there untouched, not vandalized or anything, for 25 years,” Brawley said. “It breaks my heart that they want to move it to the War Memorial where it will be surrounded by kids and all.”

Brawley’s fears of the monument being damaged or forgotten at its new location have created mistrust in the town, she noted.

“How disrespectful, how rude, how horrible of the town. Is that what our town has come to?” said Brawley about the decision to move the monument without officials contacting the family for their input.

“It’s so disheartening for us.”

With several parents of the monument’s deceased also departed, Brawley said the memorial cannot be rededicated with the same emotion and love as it originally was.

“You couldn’t rededicate another monument and have it the same because the people that put their heart into it are gone.”

Claiming that others feel the same concern for the monument’s relocation, Brawley expressed worries over a safe move, which, said Cullen, would be at the MBC’s expense to diminish the likelihood of damage.

“If and when it is moved, we’ll hire a professional crew to move it,” he said. “The whole (garden) is to take the men and women from Mooresville and this region and honor them for the supreme sacrifice.”

As park construction moves into the second phase, which will be completed around the end of August, the monument’s removal and relocation will occur when the Serenity Garden is ready to be constructed “some time this fall,” Cullen noted.

He added, “It will be done in a very tasteful, respectful manner. It’s going to be a project that the community will be proud of.”

Ellie

thedrifter
08-09-08, 07:18 AM
Monument to slain Marines won't be moved without family's permission
By MELINDA SKUTNICK
Mooresville Tribune
Friday, August 8, 2008

Downtown Mooresville’s 23-year-old monument to Marines who died in a 1983 terrorist attack in Beirut will apparently stay put.

“That monument will not be moved until the McNeely family supports it being moved...,” said Town Commissioner Mac Herring, who also serves as the board representative on the Mooresville Beautification Committee (MBC).

His statement capped 10 days of controversy and public criticism surrounding MBC’s comment last week that the monument would likely be moved from John Franklin Moore Memorial Park on South Main Street to a new park at the War Memorial building.

The John Franklin Moore park, which is being renovated, has been home to the monument for 23 years. It was erected in honor of the 21 North Carolina-based U.S. Marines, including Lance Corporal Timothy McNeely of Mooresville, who died in the attack.

McNeely’s family, said sister Vickie Brawley, had not been contacted prior to the MBC’s decision and held several reservations about the monument’s relocation.

Brawley had told the Tribune about her family’s disappointment in moving the dedicated granite marker to a planned Serenity Garden at the War Memorial recreation center on Maple Street and their desire to retain the monument at its current location.

“Why change something that’s that set in stone?” Brawley said in July.

On Wednesday, Herring said the MBC’s prior decision to move the tribute was being revoked and the monument would remain at John Franklin Moore Park.

“The intent has always been to get them to sign off on it,” Herring said of the McNeely family, who was adamantly against relocating the memorial. “It was never intended to be done without the consent of the McNeelys.”

The monument, which has sat untouched for more than two decades, will not be moved in the future “without the McNeely family's consent,” he added.

Consent which will never come, Brawley said.

“Not in my lifetime or my mom’s or my children’s,” said Brawley on Thursday as she exclaimed her happiness at Herring’s comment.

“I’m thrilled (and) I’m honored,” she added. “I feel that the community stepped up and voiced their opinions and I think it’s wonderful.”

Noting an appreciation toward the Mooresville community for supporting her family’s wishes, Brawley said she also appreciates the town board and MBC for leaving the monument dedicated to her brother and 20 fellow Marines in its downtown home.

“As long as we keep his memory alive, that (memorial) will always stay as long as the town leaves it there,” she said.

“I hope everybody remembers what it stands for and why it was put there.”

Ellie

thedrifter
08-12-08, 08:53 AM
Tribute to fallen Marines will stay

By Melinda Skutnick

MEDIA GENERAL NEWS SERVICE

Published: August 12, 2008

A monument to Marines who died in a 1983 terrorist attack in Beirut will apparently stay put in downtown Mooresville.

"That monument will not be moved until the McNeely family supports it being moved," said Mac Herring, a Mooresville town commissioner who also serves as the board representative on the Mooresville Beautification Committee.

His statement capped 10 days of controversy and public criticism surrounding the committee's comment last week that the monument would likely be moved from John Franklin Moore Memorial Park on South Main Street to a new park at the War Memorial building.

The John Franklin Moore Park, which is being renovated, has been home to the monument for 23 years.

The monument was erected to honor 21 North Carolina-based U.S. Marines, including Lance Cpl. Timothy McNeely of Mooresville, who died in the attack.

McNeely's sister, Vickie Brawley, said that her family had not been contacted before the committee's decision and has several reservations about moving the monument.

"Why change something that's that set in stone?" Brawley said in July.

On Wednesday, Herring said that the committee's prior decision to move the monument was being revoked and it would remain at John Franklin Moore Park.

"The intent has always been to get them to sign off on it," Herring said of the McNeely family, who was adamantly against moving the memorial. "It was never intended to be done without the consent of the McNeelys."

That consent will never come, Brawley said.

"Not in my lifetime or my mom's or my children's," she said Thursday.

She is pleased that the committee changed course.

"I feel that the community stepped up and voiced their opinions, and I think it's wonderful," Brawley said.

n Melinda Skutnick is a

reporter for the Mooresville

Tribune.

Ellie