Life Before Service
The Community Plaza symbolizes Life Before Service. It contains the Oath of Service Wall. This is a gently curving wall, integrating soils from each of the 100 counties and will display 100 bronze casted hands from North Carolina veterans held firm at shoulder height symbolically taking the oath of service before their community. The Community Plaza also contains the Community Columns which is an area that contains 50 columns with the names of each of the state’s 100 counties adorned with castings of hands from veterans, their families, and residents of every North Carolina County to represent the many hands that support veterans as they leave their communities to enter service. The County Columns are in order based on dates of incorporation into the state.
Life During Service
The Service Plaza symbolizes Life During Service. A key symbol in the Service Plaza is the Patriot Wall. These walls stand tall, firm and proud, while they provide a visual and auditory symbol of the action, excitement, and turmoil of military service. The wall’s bluestone panels shimmer under a sheet of water, expressing action, movement, excitement, and chaos associated with lives in service and in contrast to the character of the other plazas. The Service Plaza also contains a Reflection Wall that incorporates highly reflective stainless steel panels that will reflect images of the people and elements of the surrounding plaza, making the observer a physical part of the wall and park environment. Etched across the faces reflected in the wall will be words from the US Constitution imploring us to “…support and defend the Constitution…”. Symbolizing the service members readiness to defend at all times, the Pride and Purpose Tower is a steel and granite tower rising from a pool of water with special effects lighting that will highlight its presence after dark and a light cannon will pierce the sky to mark special occasions or to welcome home the troops. The Service Plaza is also the home for the Service Arches. These five arches, one for each branch of the armed forces, provide a visual and physical gateway from service life into the next phase of a veteran’s story – life after service.
Life After Service
The Reflection Garden symbolizes the transition from service back to civilian life. This quiet area along the creek provides a serene area to share and reflect on their time in service. The Reflection Garden is the home of the Veterans Color Garden where annuals and North Carolina native plants as well as “veterans” plants that played a role in military service will adorn this small garden serving to celebrate the lives of all who served, are serving, and will serve. The Reflection Gardens also contain the Camaraderie Plaza which serves as a gathering space to welcome home and to celebrate our veterans wherever they may be in their respective journeys of service.