World War Two Memorial, Morganton
The centerpiece of the memorial complex is Victory Plaza with full size statues of a mourning woman and a grandfather holding a young female child. These figures represent the generation of sons, daughters, husbands and wives lost during the war. With outstretched hands the two adult figures form a V for victory. In front of these figures are two large pieces of black granite bearing the names of Burke County men and women who perished during the war. The memorial also has a life-size statue at the garden’s entrance titled “The Inductee” which represents the ideal youth, with hand raised to take the induction oath. On the stone wall running along the back side of the plaza are eight other bronze busts representing the branches of service and civilians important to the war effort; a textile worker, a nurse, a welder, a Coast Guard planner, a Navy Commander, an Army soldier, a wounded Marine and an African-American airman. Along the front of the plaza walkway are stone benches and columns with donor plaques attached. The wall, bench and column construction is best described as random sized squared stones laid in courses. The walkway directly in front of the centerpiece is of red brick. From this a ribbon of red memorial bricks winds its way along the plaza’s conglomerate concrete/pea gravel walkway. On the wall to the left of “The Inductee” statue is a flat sculptured piece, which reads “KILROY WAS HERE,” showing a bald-headed man with a prominent nose peeking over a wall being clutched with the fingers of each hand.
The goal of artist Alex Hallmark was to honor both the military and civilian role in World War II and to portray the nation that went to war and the effects it had on its citizenry.
Images: Victory plaza | Entry Column | Center sculptures | Left tablet | Right tablet | "Kilroy was here" | Bench and memorial bricks | Textile Worker | Airman | Inductee | Nurse | Commander (Naval officer) | Wounded Marine | Soldier | Planner (Coast Guard) | Welder | Rear view of the memorial | View from E. Meeting St. | View from S. Green St. | Far-off view
Centerpiece plaque: WWII / BURKE COUNTY DEAD
Victory Plaza Plaque: VICTORY PLAZA / SPONSORED BY / ROTARY CLUB OF BURKE-SUNRISE / DEDICATED NOVEMBER 11, 2005
The Inductee: Front proper right, BRAVE / front, proper left, FREE / proper right, STRONG, / proper left, JUST / rear, UNITED
Inductee plaque: THE INDUCTEE / DONATED BY / LAW FIRM OF BYRD, BYRD, ERVIN, / WHISNANT & MCMAHON, P.A. / JOHN F. & TAMMY BLACK / CANNON PHARMACY / W. BRUCE & MARIANNE CANNON
Bust plaques, left to right:
THE WELDER / DONATED BY / 150 STRONG WOMEN
THE NURSE / DONATED BY / GRACE HOSPITAL / SCHOOL OF NURSING / ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION
THE MARINE / [Marine Corps logo] / MARINE CORPS LEAGUE / TABLE ROCK DETACHMENT 1197
THE SOLDIER / DONATED BY / J.C. & SMARO / SOSSOMAN
THE COMMANDER / DONATED BY / CoMMA/AARP / “BLUE BLAZERS”
THE AIRMAN / HONORING OUR VETERANS / AFRICAN AMERICAN / COMMUNITY OF BURKE / COUNTY
THE PLANNER / IN MEMORY OF / JOHN P. ROSTAN, JR. / THE ROSTAN FAMILY / FOUNDATION
TEXTILE WORKER / DONATED BY / BANK OF / GRANITE
November 11, 2005
35.745420 , -81.685950 View in Geobrowse
Wyatt, Robert. “Burke County Dedicates World War II Memorial,” Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, NC), November 16, 2005
“Farnham, Tracy. “Remembering Those Who Gave All,” The News-Herald (Morganton, NC), May 25, 2015, (accessed December 16, 2016) Link
“WWII Memorial,” AlexHallmark Sculptor, www.alexhallmark.co, (accessed December 13, 2016) Link
Bronze, black granite, stone, brick, concrete
The Rotary Club of Burke County, Sunrise
More than $200,000
Buddy Armour, president of Burke-Sunrise Rotary Club, said that “We didn’t just want to pay homage to the soldiers, but to everyone who contributed to the war effort, at home or abroad. It honors all who helped win the war.” The sculptor speaking about the African-American airman said that the bust “has a proud look on his face… and as I worked on him the phrase that kept going through my head was as if he was saying, ‘If I get home from this I won’t be riding in the back of the bus ever again.”
The sculptor, Alex Hallmark, son of a career military parent, won an open competition to design the memorial. He also sculpted the Senator Sam Ervin, Jr. statue at the old Burke County Courthouse and the Doc Watson memorial in downtown Boone.
The origins of “Kilroy was here” is unknown but it was a form of graffiti seen throughout World War II in American occupied areas. An engraving of Kilroy also appears on the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.
The memorial is located in front of and to the left of the Burke Country Courthouse at 201 South Green Street in Morganton, NC. To the right of the courthouse entrance is a Vietnam Memorial. The Law Enforcement Memorial is to the left of the entrance.
Young and mature trees line the plaza area along with several varieties of landscape plants. The courthouse lawn rises up behind the rear plaza wall.