The board of directors of the WNC Veterans’ Memorial has announced that they are withdrawing a controversial poem and instead proposing a new set of two inscriptions for the memorial, which is slated to be built on City/County Plaza.
“The Board of Directors of WNC Veterans’ Memorial points out that it wishes to avoid controversy regarding the Veterans’ Memorial,” the announcement reads. “The Veterans’ Memorial is dedicated to peace, liberty, freedom as well as veterans. Since hundreds of the public have donated funds for consturction of the memorial, the board has worked very hard to please all of the communtiy.”
Asheville’s Public Art Board recently declared that the poem would need to be modified or replaced. In the announcement, the memorial’s board of directors say that “they, who have fought for the design and raised funding for the memorial for the past six years, will design the components of the memorial.”
The previous poem, “It is the Veteran” by Charles Province, had drawn criticism, with opponents claiming it was too militaristic and denigrated other professions, while supporters of the poem said it simply highlighted veterans’ contributions.
The memorial board now proposes the poem be replaced with two inscriptions, one on each pylon of memorial:
Dedicated to those who gave us
Peace, Liberty and Freedom
And To Those Who Have
If we cannot do them honor
While they’re here to hear the praise
Then at least let’s give them homage
At the ending of their days.
— David Forbes, staff writer