June 15, 2019, Cathy Schulze, The Daily News Journal
At last it was done: after standing unacclaimed in from of the main building at the Veterans Administration Medical Center for nearly a year, a granite and bronze monument was dedicated Tuesday afternoon during Flag Day ceremonies.
Groups of patients clustered in the shade of of nearby trees as the monument to veterans was dedicated. Nurses looked down on the ceremony from the porch above. Flags from all 50 states lined the main drive.
“Our flag has no meaning other than what we give it,” said Sarah King, President General National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who was dressed in a red suit swathed with a long blue and white banner.
“This flag is the emblem of our unity, our power, our honor. It is known that the United States made the staff a symbol of our independence,” she said.
And she spoke of the names of the flag – Old Glory, Stars and Stripes, The Stipes. “Men have followed me with unwavering courage,” she said of our flag.
“Those of us who have served our country need to reflect on this often,” VA Director Robert Pepiot said.
And then he took a huge pair of wooden scissors crafted by an occupational therapy patient then gave them to Mrs. King, who cut the yellow ribbon with the help of Murfreesboro Mayor Joe B. Jackson and Dusty Roden, the commissioner of Veterans Affair and Pepiot.
The monument was designed over a year and a half ago by Pepiot’s secretary, Ellie Naylor, who took a caduceus, the emblem of the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army, and put it atop a block with four medallions of the services on each face and one that says:
“Donated by the Disabled American Veterans and Auxiliary, Department of Tennessee; The American Legion and Auxiliary, Department of Tennessee and Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary, 5th District.”
For her design Mrs. Naylor won $100.