Whayland H. Greene, a World War II veteran who earned a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars, had a dream of building a memorial for those who did not come home. With the help of his wife, Jo Ann, the citizens of Belcher, Louisianna state representatives, veterans and others, his dream came true 60 years after the end of WWII.
The Belcher Veterans Memorial's formal dedication was Aug. 17, 2002. Music, including Taps, was performed by the Barksdale Air Force Base Band.
The memorial has four Roman black granite monuments with each side dedicated to honoring those who served in the following: WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War and the War on Terrorism. In addition, one monument has one side stating “Victory & Peace” and on another monument a reminder of the attacks on the United States on Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 11, 2001.
Today, more than 1,000 bricks have been laid in the park. Greene has each brick laid in a path “spoke” that are reserved strictly for veterans, one spoke for the 17 astronauts who have lost their lives, a spoke for those veterans who attended Belcher School, and one for family members and loved ones.
Bricks have been inscribed for former President George Bush, U.S. Sen. John McCain, Oliver North, and the late Bob Hope (honorary veteran). Bricks can be purchased for $30 with the proceeds going toward the upkeep of the Belcher Veterans Memorial.
Although Belcher, La., might be out of the way for some, it is well worth the trip if you’re traveling through Shreveport or on your way to Texarkana or are just traveling the country to spend some quiet time at memorials honoring our veterans.
On a personal note, I have enjoyed my conversations with Mr. Whayland H. Greene and always receive a chill and sense of pride when I visit the memorial and look at the bricks and think of what these heroes have done for our country. Mr. Greene often dedicates the flag being flown in honor of specific veterans and will display the veterans name and rank at the base of the American Flag.
Mr. Greene is a true American hero and I am honored to have my brick as part of the Belcher Veterans Memorial.
John Storey, Lt Col, USAF (retired)