Controversy arises over missing names on WWI monument

ANNISTON, Ala. (WIAT) — Memorials made of granite, etched with the names of those who lost their lives fighting for the freedom of others. We celebrate their victories, mourn their loss, and honor their memories. But why are more than a dozen names of Alabama service men missing from a Calhoun County monument?

In the 1920’s, a memorial was created to honor World War 1 veterans. Now thousands pass it each day on Quintard Avenue in Anniston, Alabama. There are 41 names inscribed on that monument and everyone agrees those veterans earned the right to be there, but after more than 90 years, some argue there should be 60 names.

The monument was a project of the United Daughters of the Confederacy to honor Calhoun County veterans killed in WWI.  But recent research reportedly shows that there are 19 names missing, according to the Anniston Star. Some people WIAT 42 spoke with say it’s time those names were added.

“I mean it’s only fair. If you’ve got names already up here and then some people’s names [are] missing, give them the respect, just like you gave these people respect,” says Jamal Williams.

If you ask Ken Rollins with the state Board of Veteran’s Affairs it’s clear that those veterans deserve respect. But adding names may be easier said than done. Even though Rollins has no connection to the Quintard monument, he is the man behind the Centennial Park War Memorial. It lists thousands of names of Alabama veterans killed in war, including 3,000+ casualties from WW1. Rollins says the new research revealed that he has some work to do as well, “Their research shows me that we’ve got to, we’ve got to add some names up here so we’re going to do that and make it, fix it for those who come after us.”

The Centennial Park monument has room for more names, but Rollins isn’t so sure about the other one, “It’s a bronze plaque, set in stone, rocks, not concrete. So whoever sets that, goes back and puts a larger plaque in there, they’re going to have to disassemble the statue that it sits on, the rock statue. And I don’t see how they’re going to do that without it crumbling down.”

WIAT 42 spoke with Joyce Lataste of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. She says she was shocked by the article. She’s not sure how her predecessors did their research but she believes they did their best to be accurate. She’s not sure what their next step will be or if it will come up.

For the time being the monument on Quintard Avenue will remain at 41 names.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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