FORT JACKSON, SC (WIS) - Plans are underway to build a park at Fort Jackson that will commemorate the post's 100 years of contributions to the U.S. Army.
The non-profit Gateway to the Army Association announced Tuesday its plans to build a monument at Fort Jackson to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Fort Jackson as a military instillation. The association needs to raise $1 million to build the monument.
Fort Jackson celebrates its centennial year in 2017.
"What we want to do is remember Fort Jackson and help it celebrate its 100th anniversary with some unique gift," said U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Gen.(Ret.) George Goldsmith. "What we're looking at is what really enabled Fort Jackson to train so many men and women to become soldiers, and it boiled down to the drill sergeants."
The focus of the Centennial Park will be two statues of drill sergeants: one male and one female.
"We are going to develop a monument, or statue to honor the drill sergeants," Goldsmith said.
He said the Centennial Park will be a place for the thousands of people who visit Fort Jackson weekly for basic training graduation to take photos and reflect on the legacy of the soldiers trained there.
"We want people to see this monument and be able to stop, take pictures with their families there," he said. "We want a focal point for them to come and be able to see some of the heritage of Fort Jackson. But also put it right in that area so that they can see the drill sergeant was the key to being able to take their son and daughter and mold them into a strong soldier."
Along with the statue of the drill sergeants, the park will include green space, amphitheater, memorial area and Patriot's Parkway. It will serve as monument to all of those who served their country.
The local master stone carver and sculptor commissioned to create the sculpture, Ron Clamp, also created the 9/11 First Responders Memorial next to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
But now organizers must raise donations to pay to build the monument. Goldsmith is confident the Columbia-area community will be supportive.
"We're going to have a total community effort to try to raise this funding," he said.
The Association will be selling brick pavers to help pay for the construction. Click here for more information.
Organizers are working with Fort Jackson officials to determine a specific location for the commemorative park.