When CaroMont Regional Medical Center opened on Highland Street in Gastonia
in 1946, it was named in honor of local soldiers who died in World War II.
A new memorial currently under construction at the hospital, now located
on Court Drive, will pay tribute “to those heroes of the past while
also making room for soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in more
recent military actions, such as Iraq and Afghanistan,” said CaroMont
Health board chairman Spurgeon Mackie.
Plans call for the new memorial, which will be in an outdoor courtyard
behind the volunteer desk in CaroMont Health’s main lobby, to be
completed in time for Veteran’s Day, which is Nov. 11.
It will feature the names of U.S. military personnel who died in service
to our country and were born in Gaston County. In the unfortunate event
that other Gaston soldiers lose their lives in active duty, those names
will be added.
Three 6 to 8 feet tall acrylic red banners will be adorned with the emblems
of the armed forces and will be lit at night. It will also include a protected
area for viewing in inclement weather.
It will be a place where visitors can reflect on the sacrifices made by
our service men and women, as well as a respite for families, patients
and hospital staff, said Richard Blackburn, assistant vice president of
support services at CaroMont Health.
“We have never forgotten how Gaston Memorial Hospital got its name,
and we felt a memorial to our community’s fallen heroes deserved
a more prominent place in the hospital environment,” said Blackburn,
whose father and uncle were both World War II veterans.
The hospital’s current war memorial doesn’t include the most
recent military fatalities, Blackburn said. Its location, in the lobby
next to the elevators, doesn’t demand attention the way the newer
one will, he added.
“This new memorial will really draw attention,” he said. “I
think it will really make people stop, take it in and learn more and understand
more about why Gaston Memorial Hospital became Gaston Memorial Hospital.”
Plans for the memorial, designed by RPA Design PC in Charlotte and expected
to cost about $270,000, began more than a year ago, with local veterans
providing input on the design. Those who have visited the World War II
Memorial in Washington, D.C., know how it can bring tears to your eyes,
The hospital’s hope is that its new memorial will evoke similar emotion
and reverence, he said.
“Everyday here at CaroMont we have the opportunity to touch people’s
lives in a positive way,” he said. “We recognize the soldiers
who gave their lives were touching the lives of this country and this
county in a positive way. This is a way to remember them and honor their
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