Cherokee Indian Veterans Park, Cherokee
James Killian Spratt, Sculptor
This park is dedicated to all members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians who served honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States. It consists of a seven sided granite stele on a seven sided base topped with a bronze bust of Medal of Honor recipient Charles George. He is shown wearing an army helmet with the Medal of Honor around the neck. Each side of the stele has a pictograph representing the seven clans of the Cherokee Nation: Deer, Blue, Long Hair, Wolf, Bird, Paint and Wild Potato. Incised on what would be considered the front is the Great Seal of the United States. Below this are the Seal of the Cherokee Nation, then the Fox clan pictograph and the list of Cherokee killed in action. Other sides of the stele also show the Coat of Arms for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force and Merchant Marine appearing above the clan pictographs.
Several feet away facing each side of the stele are seven tablestones. They list by clan the names of every known Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian that has served in the armed forces since the war of 1812. At the entrance to the monument area is a lectern top granite block with the bronze inscription plaque. On the front of this block, in color, is a mountain landscape. Superimposed over the landscape is a seven sided Cherokee star. Pictured inside the star is an Indian with long flowing hair, trees and mountains in moonlight. The walkways around the memorial are laid with stone pavers and outlined with shrubbery. Two artillery pieces are to the sides of the memorial and a brightly painted, life sized “Patriot Bear” sculpture is a few feet away.
A short distance away is a full sized statue of Charles George that was dedicated in November 2016. The park also features an M-60 tank.
CHEROKEE VETERANS PARK / THIS PARK IS DEDICATED TO ALL MEMBERS / OF THE EASTERN BAND OF CHEROKEE INDIANS / WHO SERVED HONORABLE IN THE ARMED FORCES / OF THIS GREAT NATION, AND ESPECIALLY TO / THOSE WHO DIED IN THE EFFORT AND TO / CHARLES GEORGE, THE ONLY MEMBER OF THE / EASTERN BAND OF THE CHEROKEE TO BE AWARDED / THE CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR.
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Moss, Bill. “Noted Sculptor Dies as Statue Is Dedicated,” Hendersonville Lightning (Hendersonville, NC) September 26, 2016, (accessed May 4, 2017) Link
“Charles George VA Medical Center-Asheville, NC,” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, (accessed May 4, 2017) Link
“Cherokee Charles George, Korean War Medal Of Honor Recipient,” NC Department of Cultural Resources, (accessed May 4, 2017) Link
“Cherokee Veterans Park, Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC), May 12, 1995
“Cherokee Veterans Park,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed April 28, 2017) Link
“Cherokee Veterans Park,” Waymarking.com, (Accessed April 28, 2017) Link
“PFC. George, Cherokee Hero, Awarded Medal,” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC), February 7, 1954
“Veterans Day 2016-Cherokee, NC.” Thunderbirdphoto.com, (accessed May 4, 2017) Link
Charles George is the only member of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians to receive the Medal of Honor. He died after falling on an enemy hand grenade to save the lives of his comrades. His parents who did not speak English and had never been out of the mountains of North Carolina traveled to Washington, D.C. in 1954 to receive his medal. In 2002 the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Asheville was renamed in his honor. In September 2016 a life-size statue of George identical to the one in Cherokee was unveiled at the medical center. The sculptor James Killian Spratt who was being treated at the Medical Center for cancer died seven minutes into the dedication. He had a speaking part in the ceremony relinquished hours prior to the dedication. That statue and the one at the Cherokee Veterans Park were placed to face each other.
The Cherokee Indian Veterans Memorial Park is located on the 500 block of Tsali Blvd. (US-441 S.), Cherokee, NC.
Beautiful mountain scenery serves as a backdrop of the well-maintained memorial park.