HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The major features of the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial are finally complete. What you may not realize at first glance, is that behind each memorial and statue is a person or group of Madison County veterans who played a part in the project from the very start.
From concept to execution to completion, it's a memorial for the veterans, by the veterans of Madison County.
The Courage and Sacrifice statues are modeled by 6 Madison County combat veterans.
The people who modeled for Sacrifice went through their own share of hardships on the battle field. From surviving an IED explosion to spending three weeks in a coma, or having 90% of their regiment killed in action.
All three of the men who modeled for Courage have served in Afghanistan or Iraq. Two are being deployed again in early 2013.
While they can see their contribution to the memorial, there are hundreds of other servicemen and women who have died in battle, whose names are now etched in the marble slabs around the monument.
"So many in Madison County gave their lives," said David Carney, a member of the Veterans Memorial board. "What this says to me is that today we owe every obligation to those who have served and who are serving today."
Carney was neighbors with one man, Stephen K. Scott, who was killed in the War on Terror. He knew two of the men whose names are etched on the memorial for the Vietnam War.
The memorial is a history book. From left to right, there is a timeline etched in stone of every war and conflict our country was involved in. Starting with the revolutionary war, and ending with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
An empty marble slab stands in place for future wars, ready to bear the names of the brave men and women who will come.
"We would like to think there will never be another war. That's what we thought about WWI, the war to end all wars," said Carney. "But the way the world is today, there will probably be another war and that saddens me."